The Warsaw Ghetto Revolution: Heroes of Merit and Implication - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1647 Words
Date:  2023-01-10


In most cases, bravery and courage are measured by their merits and implications, not by their success. The Warsaw ghetto revolution is among the rare cases which turned men into heroes by employing all these merits and implications. The Warsaw ghetto revolution happened from April 19 to May 16, 1943, in the period World War II. It was during the French attack against the Nazi proved that the Third Reich was fallible. In the ghetto uprising Jews were murdered, beaten and abused while others were taken from the Warsaw ghetto to the Treblinka camp. They formed many resistant groups like Z.O.B. which were comprised of young men. Those ghettos were established by the Nazis to confine Jews until they could be executed. During the Warsaw ghetto uprising, other revolts were inspired by the ghettos and the Jewish community was forced to endure the rise of Hitler and his relentless German soldiers who came with a tone of harsh ways.

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This started in 1939 when Germany authorities started to concentrate Poland population. Over 3million Jews were settling into extremely crowded ghettos in polish cities. One of the ghettos was Warsaw ghetto which had over four hundred thousand people. Warsaw was the capital city of more than 1 square mile and the largest in Poland. In 1940, the Warsaw ghetto was locked by brick barriers and hooked wire guarded by arms. Anybody who was caught exiting the ghetto was killed. The amount of food brought inside the ghetto was controlled by the Nazi making the Jews starve and die from the disease. Later on the German resettlement commissioner, S.S. was planning to resettle some of the Jews to the east. This caused the death of approximately three hundred thousand Jews from the ghetto at Treblinka ((Einwohner 655). The operation was directed by the S.S. and the police commander of Warsaw area. The Jews believed that they were being deported to the labor camps, so they did not resist the movement at first. In 1942. The Jews from ghetto inhabitants learned that the deportations were an extermination process where they were being sent to face their death (Einwohner 655). Their deportations caught the Jews by surprise. Most of them started looking for places to hide thinking the end have come. The German granted thirty-five thousand Jews to stay in the Warsaw ghetto while approximately twenty thousand Jews went into beating.

In 1942, in response to the resettlement, several Jews formed a self-defense unit recognized as Jewish combat organization (Z.O.B.). It operated on the background and in its formation, the movement had a rough estimate of 200 members. Most of the members were youth group being led by chief organizers (Z.Z.W.). The organizations' members were individuals with high hopes to fight the Nazis and take their ghetto back. Both Z.Z.W. and Z.O.B. resistance fighters made a decision to work together and battle against German efforts to eliminate the ghetto. Both groups had about 700 members at the time of the uprising. Z.O.B. contacted home army for weapons and explosives supply. At the end of that year, S.S. ordered the elimination of Warsaw ghetto and raiding of energetic Jews who were forced to work in camps located in Lublin district. In 1943 the S.S. tried to resume the deportation, but the Jewish fighters fought them with pistols and other arms. The Z.O.B. could strike quickly and then look a place to hide from the German troops. The Nazis knew where to search for Jews who had hidden, and the deportation efforts ended within days. The Jews had built these hiding places over months, and they had concealed their location. They were also prepared with food and medical supplies in the bunkers in case the hiding prolonged. Most of the Warsaw ghetto was built in stages in the underground area enabling it to accommodate many Jews. The fight lasted for a few days before the German withdrew. Many Jewish soldiers died, but the attack exiled Germans to allow the Jewish chance to free. It caused a suspension of another deportation from Warsaw ghetto for the next following months.

The Uprising

On April 19, 1943, the S.S. and the police units invaded the Warsaw ghetto with tanks and hefty artillery. They found that nearly all the ghetto inhabitants had left into hiding. They were in pursuit of renewal of deportation of Jews which was a sign for an armed revolution in the ghetto. Jewish fighters in the Warsaw ghetto were led by commander Mordecai. These fighters were ready to fight with limited automatic arms and rifles. At the beginning of the uprising, Z.O.B. fighters stunned the Nazis making them withdraw from the ghetto wall. At that day German commander lost 12men, and other soldiers were wounded (Einwohner 659). The resistance preparation brought up many feeling like terror and excitement. One of the ghetto resistance zivia lubetkin described the feeling of tremor and joy after the resistance organization got the final round up. They suppressed all those emotions to be able to fight the Nazis. They were running out of options since the Germans had left no escape route. Germany was determined after being forced to retreat, and their determination left the Jews helpless. The Jews goal was to kick the Germans out of Warsaw and to liberate themselves.

After the retreat, the S.S. and police militaries raged the Warsaw ghetto to the ground. The German soldiers searched from house to house forcing the Warsaw residents to come out. The Jewish resistant fighters were ready to make raids from the bunkers which were reduced by Germans. The Warsaw fighters attacked the Nazi's troops as they round up another habitat of the ghetto for deportation. The Z.O.B. used the few arms that they had hidden in the ghetto to fight Germans. The 750 fighters from ghetto fought the heavily armed Nazis, but they were not well trained. During the Warsaw uprising, the Germans raved the ghetto, and by May 16, the ghetto was under the Germans control. The great synagogue of Warsaw ghetto was brown up on the same day as a symbol of German victory. The Jewish fighters faced superior's forces which they understood in the result of their losses. Gutman argues that an approximate of 7,000 Jews died during the Warsaw uprising while 56,000 were captured (1994). The other Jews who survived were sent into an extermination camp. Some Jews were able to escape from the Warsaw, and they joined partisan groups in the Warsaw forests. In the uprising, it is believed that seven hundred German soldiers were killed which was a successful fight for them since most Jews perished in this war.

After the Warsaw uprising, about 42,000 of the remaining Jews were deported to the poniatowa, budzyn, Krasnik and Lublin concentration camp for forced labor. Later German S.S. killed all the Jews who were deported to Lublin, Paniatoa, and Trawniki. All the ghetto residents who were being deported to Treblinka died on the way. This act angered the Jewish community that even after the uprising the Jews who were hiding out in the forest prolonged to ambush the German guards (Einwohner 660). The Warsaw ghetto revolution is recognized to be the major significant Jewish revolution. It was their first urban revolution where the resistant group in Warsaw stirred the other rising ghettos. The Warsaw ghetto purring is remembered even today where ceremonies to honour the wounded and fighters are performed.

The Warsaw uprising was horror experienced by the Jewish community. The war almost too vile and inhuman to be committed by the hands of human beings. There are stories from Warsaw war which the Nazi soldiers were shooting children as if they were chicken without any shred of humanity. Small children were crawling from bunkers through barbed wires escaping from German soldiers. Other went hungry for days and the only they could get food was by stealing. Jews dead bodies were piling up in mortuary homes in Warsaw ghetto community. During the Warsaw uprising atmosphere, there was a constant threat, and freedom became a basic necessity as food. Through all this, the Jewish community did not give up. The Jewish fighting organization inspired other women and men to resist the Germans (Einwohner 40). Although they did not will the Warsaw uprising, they are remembered as the ultimate warriors of liberation.


In conclusion, the act Z.O.B. will always be in history. Many soldiers prevail after learning from them. Their acts were pure bravery, and their goals were purest. Although their goal was not attained, they began an empire with their heroic act which in their hearts was enough justice. Jews were few, but they resisted against the most superior army in the world. Their abilities were unmatched while fighting panzers and machine guns with homemade weapons. This war became a symbol for those who fought for their independence. The Warsaw ghetto uprising taught us so many lessons like a few people, without hope can overcome all struggles. This came as a lesson for Nazis too since they did not think that a tribe like Jews would resist. They thought it would be an easy task to keep deporting Jews and attacking Jews, but to their surprise, they faced a war that they will never forget.

Work Cited

Einwohner, Rachel L. "Opportunity, honor, and action in the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943." American Journal of Sociology 109.3 (2003): 650-675.

Einwohner, Rachel L. "Identity work and collective action in a repressive context: Jewish Resistance on the "Aryan side" of the Warsaw Ghetto." Social Problems 53.1 (2006): 38-56.

Ensink, Titus, and Christoph Sauer, Eds. The art of commemoration: Fifty years after the Warsaw uprising. Vol. 7. John Benjamins Publishing, 2003.

Gutman, Israel. Resistance: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994.

Wojcik, Adrian, Michal Bilewicz, and Maria Lewicka. "Living on the ashes: Collective representations of Polish-Jewish history among people living in the former Warsaw Ghetto area." Cities 27.4 (2010): 195-203.

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