Warsaw Ghetto uprisings (1943, 1944) - Soldiers, battles, commemorations and controversy.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: World War II Poland, Operation Barbarossa: Eastern Front, Resistance, Causes of WW2, Katyn Massacre.
Nine Ingenious Weapons of the Polish Underground
In August 1944, 20,000 fighters from Polandâs underground Armia Krajowa (AK) or âHome Army,â launched a series of assaults on Nazi forces. The offensive, which targeted Wehrmacht and SS units stationed in and around the Polish capital of Warsaw, was the capstone to months of unrest that had rocked German-controlled areas like Lublin, ZamoÅÄ, Wilno, and Lwow. Yet despite the abruptness of the attacks, the campaign, which was dubbed Operation Tempest, was a long time in the making: the 400,000-strong Home Army had been secretly stockpiling weapons and ammunition for the onslaught for more than a year.
Study suggests Hitler's grandfather was Jewish
For years, the rumor existed that Hitler's grandfather was Jewish, but the claim went unsubstantiated. Now, a study suggests that the grandfather of the Nazi leader was indeed Jewish. Published in the Journal of European Studies, the study, authored by Dr. Leonard Sax, refutes claims made by the German historian, Nikolaus von Preradovich, who said: "'Not a single Jew (kein einziger Jude) was living in Graz prior to 1856." - "Drawing on evidence from Austrian archives from the 1800s, Dr. Sax documents that there was in fact a settled community of Jews living in Graz before 1850," a press release accompanying the study states. "And, Dr. Sax presents evidence that Preradovich was a Nazi sympathizer.
Simcha Rotem: Last Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighter dies
As German forces were mobilizing to liquidate the Warsaw Ghetto, Simcha "Kazik" Rotem resisted and fought back. Rotem said he and his comrades fought to "choose the kind of death" they wanted.
What was the Warsaw Uprising?
The Warsaw Uprising was an armed insurrection during WWII organized by the Polish underground resistance, or Home Army (AK), which had been fighting against the Nazi occupation since the invasion of Poland in September 1939. As it became clear during the summer of 1944 that the Germans were almost certain to lose the war, the Soviet (Red) Army started to advance on Berlin, arriving on the eastern banks of the Vistula river in Warsaw in July. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin gave signals to the Polish government in exile in London - nominally an ally of the USSR - that if the AK were to rise up against the Nazis, the Red Army would cross the river and join in. The Rising was part of Operation Tempest, a series of uprisings across eastern Poland. Its leaders believed an independent Warsaw would have more political leverage with the new, Soviet, occupier after the war.
Footage from the 1944 Warsaw Uprising enhanced and turned into the movie Warsaw Rising
Historical footage from the 1944 Warsaw Uprising has been enhanced and turned into the movie Warsaw Rising. The 63-day rebellion was organised by the Polish resistance to liberate the city from Nazi occupation. The Poles believed they were about to be liberated by the Russians, but the Red Army did not arrive as expected and the uprising was crushed. More than 200,000 people died. The Warsaw Rising Museum hired cinematographers to add coloration and sound to give a real-life feel to the footage.
WWII resistance fighter Boruch Spiegel, who survived the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943, dies aged 93
One of the last remaining survivors of the largest Jewish revolt of the Second World War has died at the age of 93. Boruch Spiegel, who is believed to have given the signal to launch the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943, was described by his son Julius as a 'reluctant hero', following his death in Montreal. Mr Spiegel was among 750 Jews who managed to hold off heavily armed German soldiers for more than a month as they tried to storm the Polish ghetto, intent on transporting its occupants to Nazi death camps.
Vladka Meed, who infiltrated Warsaw Ghetto smuggling pistols, dies at 90
Vladka Meed, who with her flawless Polish and Aryan good looks was able to smuggle pistols, gasoline for firebombs and even dynamite to the Jewish fighters inside the Warsaw Ghetto, and who after the war became a leader in the national effort to educate children about the Holocaust, has passed away at 90. With her husband, Benjamin, and a handful of other survivors, Meed took a leading role in efforts to get the world to acknowledge what the Nazis had done to the Jews. It was a difficult proposition, given the impulse of so many people after World War II to put the slaughter behind them.
Ryszard Kossobudzki, a veteran of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, dies at 86
Kossobudzki`s war-time experience was described by his daughter, Rita Cosby, in the book "Quiet Hero. Secrets from my Father`s Past", which was published in the US and in a Polish translation in 2010. In her book, Rita Cosby described how she uncovered an amazing story of her father`s heroism, as well as his secret: he found his war-time experience too painful to share with his family and it was only several years ago that, after her mother`s death, while sorting out her belongings, that she discovered a suitcase containing mementos from her father`s youth, such as a worn Polish Resistance armband; rusted tags bearing a prisoner number and the words Stalag IVB; and an id card for an ex-POW bearing the name Ryszard Kossobudzki.
Flags Over the Warsaw Ghetto: The Untold Story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (book review)
In "Flags Over the Warsaw Ghetto" Moshe Arens tells the story of the uprising in Warsaw Ghetto which the history books have missed. The book tells of the inability of humans to set aside ideological differences to fight a common enemy. The book chronicles how two groups of Jews were prevented by ideology from joining to fight the Nazi murder machine. The two organizations were the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB), led by Mordechai Anielewicz, and the Jewish Military Organization (ZZW), led by Pawel Frenkel, who didn't realize that, during that time, their ideological differences were irrelevant.
Video: Warsaw's Last Robber - An unusual story told by Zbigniew Ksiazczak
Video: Warsaw's Last Robber - An unusual story told by Zbigniew Ksiazczak.
Marek Edelman, commander of the Warsaw Uprising in 1943, gets own room in the Lodz Historical Museum
Marek Edelman, one of the three commanders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 and a prominent dissident during the communist period, is to have his apartment recreated in the Historical Museum in Łodz, Poland. Edelman, a co-founder of the Jewish Combat Organization (a WWII resistance movement), survived the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. After his escape he joined the underground Home Army only to end up seeing combat in the Warsaw again during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.
A Day in the Warsaw Ghetto -exhibit features photos illegally shot by Wehrmacht sergeant Heinz Joest
A traveling exhibit called "A Day in the Warsaw Ghetto: A Birthday Trip in Hell" features 85 photographs that Wehrmacht sergeant Heinz Joest took illegally while touring the Warsaw Ghetto on his birthday in 1941. He was so disturbed by the things he saw that he didn't show the images to his wife until he was on his deathbed in 1980.
The Boy: A Holocaust Story by Dan Porat (Book review)
There are photographs that manage to capture the essence of historic events. In one of those photos a child with a newsboy's cap raises his arms in surrender during a roundup of Warsaw Jews. In "The Boy: A Holocaust Story" Dan Porat tells the story of the scared boy, the Nazi photographer who probably shot the picture, the Nazi soldier in the photo (Josef Blösche, executed by firing squad in 1969), and the women nearby. The image in question was one of 52 black-and-white photos in a report by SS general Jürgen Stroop about the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto (titled: "The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw Is No More!").
Poles question Warsaw legend: The idiotic and failed uprising, portrayed as an anti-Soviet action for decades
"Not only idiotic but a crime," stated the Przeglad weekly on Aug. 1, the anniversary of the Warsaw uprising. Such a negative review of the uprising against the Nazi occupiers that failed after 63 bloody days, leaving the capital in ruins and over 200,000 dead, was once unthinkable. Controversy has followed the uprising from the beginning: Tadeusz Komorowski, the commander of the Home Army, the largest resistance force in Europe, began it with 50,000 poorly armed fighters. The German Army only suffered 9,000 dead and missing, while the Poles lost 16,000 fighters and nearly 200,000 civilians.
Flying over the ruins - Warsaw's 1944 destruction revealed in 5-minute 3D video (includes trailer)
The Warsaw Rising Museum, which documents the 1944 uprising, has created a 3D film to show the destruction of the city. It took 2 years of research by historians and 40 special effects experts to create the 5-minute film. The team used historic photographs and maps to create a simulation of a 3D flight over the city, revealing piles of rubble and nearly every building in ruins. The film, "Miasto Ruin "(City in Ruins), will help teach Polish history. "Young people do not understand what it means that Warsaw was in ruins. they think it was just a few collapsed houses," said Museum director Jan Oldakowski.
New Memorial honours Jewish fighters who escaped via sewers in Warsaw
Polish authorities unveiled a monument in the nation's capital to Jewish fighters who escaped through the sewers after the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Nazis. The statue honours a group of 50 fighters who escaped through the drain system on May 10, 1943 as German troops burned down the ghetto to end the 3-week revolt. "We were ready to keep on fighting but we risked dying in the flames," said Symcha Rotem. Rotem (then named Kazik Ratajzer) set up and led the escape and is also one of the last survivors of the 1943 uprising. Among those who also got away was revolt's last commander Marek Edelman.
Documentary: A Film Unfinished - Nazi cameras filmed inside the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942
Just months before the Nazis emptied the Warsaw Ghetto they sent camera crew to capture the Jewish community within the ghetto walls. After 30 days of filming in May 1942, the soldiers packed up their cameras - their 62min film would forever go unfinished. The story of this footage - Nazi propaganda that has been widely used to illustrate ghetto life - is the subject of Yael Hersonski's documentary: "A Film Unfinished." The sources include 5 Warsaw Ghetto survivors who watched the camera crew, personal diaries dug up after the war, and the description of the filmmaking from one of the cameramen.
The Warsaw Ghetto: A Guide to the Perished City by Barbara Engelking (book review)
The 906 pages of "The Warsaw Ghetto" form a detailed portrait of Jews in the ghetto, struggling for survival under the Nazi occupation. Chapters are divided into sections covering all the relevant topics, like the chapter on culture and entertainment has sections on Literary Life, Musical Life, Theatrical Life, Humour and more. Not to forget the numerous coloured maps adds another dimension, and an A to Z of suffering arranged by topic: Communication; Offices, Trade; Social Life and Uprising. Three additional fold-out maps show the state of the ghetto before and after the Great Liquidation - and what was left of it in 2001.
Eva Konopacki, Polish underground member and Order of Virtuti Militari winner, travels back to Warsaw
Eva Konopacki's voice breaks as she speaks by phone from a luxury hotel in Warsaw - recalling fighting the Nazis in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. As an 18yo soldier she fixed army telephone lines. Shrapnel tore the lines and repair workers were sitting ducks, so Konopacki became a courier instead, earning the highest military honour in Poland, the Order of Virtuti Militari. Polish soldiers defending a convent had lost contact with those inside as German panzers and flame-throwers advanced. Konopacki could see a hole in the convent wall, but the largest of the German tanks, a Tiger, faced the hole, but the heavy cannon couldn't fire as rapidly as a machine gun.
The 65th anniversary of the 1944 Warsaw Rising against Nazi Germany
Events have begun to mark the 65th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising, which broke out on 1 August, 1944 - including a mass at the Warsaw Rising Monument, unique German chronicles and documentary films in the Warsaw Rising Museum and a concert in the Warsaw Rising Museum in tribute to the people who perished in street fighting. The Warsaw Rising lasted 63 days, 18,000 insurgents and 200,000 civilians were killed. 3,500 combat veterans are still alive. The goal was to repel the Wehtmacht and to prevent the creation of a pro-Soviet administration. The battles of 1944 will be marked not only with speeches, but also with concerts, plays, a canoe trip and many more.
Polish resistance fighter Bernard Cywinski will return to Warsaw to mark 1944 Warsaw Uprising
Bernard Cywinski - only 16 when he joined the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 - will return to Warsaw to remember his fallen comrades. He was wounded during the struggle, but he was one of the lucky ones: "My brother Tadeusz was in the uprising as well. They never found his body. He's probably somewhere in the ruins." Bernard will travel back to Poland to mark the uprising when the poorly-armed Polish Home Army challenged the Wehrmacht. During the uprising Bernard found himself in a house with armed men: "They were wearing armbands with the Polish colours of red and white. I realised I couldn't make it back home, so I volunteered to join them."
Warsaw from Above - Exhibit of Luftwaffe photos shows Capital's demise
Luftwaffe Aerial photos showing Warsaw's gradual destruction during the Second World War have gone on display for the first time in Warsaw, showing the progression from the Nazi occupation to street fighting of the Warsaw Uprising. The two dozen or so black-and-white pictures in "Warsaw from Above" give visitors an eagle's eye view of the Polish capital as the city was pounded by fighting into a landscape of rubbish and roofless. "These photographs chronicle an incredibly dramatic and important time for Warsaw," said Zygmunt Walkowski, the researcher who discovered the photo at the US National Archives.
Who Will Write our History - Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto
The Nazis succeeded in killing millions of Jews, but they did not succeed in eliminating their history. That is the story told by historian Samuel Kassow, in a detailed account of the secret archive of the Warsaw ghetto. The Jews of the Warsaw ghetto could not prevent their own murder. But thanks to the Oyneg Shabes, the secret archive set up by Emanuel Ringelblum and other historians at personal risk, they were at least able to record what took place. Only 35,000 pages survived the WW2, buried in boxes. That the documents came to light at all is thanks to Rachel Auerbach, one of only 3 survivors of hundreds involved in the project.
Warsaw uprising leader Marek Edelman writes about love in ghettos (Article no longer available from the original source)
The last leader of the 1943 Warsaw Jewish ghetto uprising against the Nazis, Marek Edelman, has turned his focus from the battles to a little-known side of life in the zone of terror: love. "No one has ever talked about love in the ghetto. It was love, precisely, which enabled people to survive in that hell," Edelman explained the launch of his book "I byla milosc w getcie" (And There Was Love in the Ghetto). In 150 pages, Edelman explores ghetto memories which differ from the mass deportations, massacres, starvation and doomed revolt. He has published several books about the 1943 uprising, stretching back to The Ghetto Fights (1946).
Poland launches a tourist trail tracing the boundary of the Warsaw ghetto
A tourist trail tracing the borders of the Warsaw ghetto was opened in the Polish capital. 21 plaques bearing photos from the era have been set up at key points along the trail, although few traces of the ghetto remain today because the ruins were largely swept away during a vast post-war construction programme by Poland's communist regime. At its height 450,000 people were packed behind the walls of the 307-hectare (758-acre) ghetto on Warsaw's Jewish quarter, while 100,000 died inside from starvation and disease. The plaques and a companioning tourist map were developed by Warsaw city hall, the culture ministry and the Jewish Historical Institute.
Poland marks ill-fated 1944 revolt against the Nazis
Sirens wailed in Warsaw marking the uprising against the Nazis. Pedestrians stood still for a minute's silence on 5:00pm - the time when, August 1, 1944, the Polish Home Army (AK) began the revolt. "We didn't have any weapons. We attacked German tanks with petrol bombs," Miroslaw Lisek recalled. Carrying messages "took a day... We were nicknamed 'carrier pigeons', and the German snipers sat on the roofs, picking us off." After the war Lisek returned to Warsaw, only to be pulled in by the secret police because the uprising was such a touchy issue for the communists. "I was wearing my cap and AK badge, and they told me: 'That's not a uniform fit for a Polish soldier.'"
Warsaw museum seeks city's former residents who fled during ghetto uprising
The Warsaw Uprising museum said that it is attempting to track down former residents of the Polish capital removed from their homes by the Nazis during the 1944 revolt. The museum, which has acquired German documents related to the operation, now hopes also to collect accounts from witnesses. Museum director Jan Oldakowski described the German-issued residency cards as "extremely precious and little known to historians." They list the names of 545 people forcibly removed from their homes in Warsaw by German forces between August and October 1944.
Shalom Stefan Grayek, one of last survivors of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, dies
Shalom Stefan Grayek, who authored 4 books about the Warsaw uprising and after the war was a leader of the Poalei Zion movement in Poland, set up the activities of the ghetto uprising near the factories, arranged hideaways for the surviving fighters and helped them escape the ghetto after the revolt was crushed by the Nazis. Most of the fighters scattered into the forests near Warsaw and joined the partisans or the Polish underground. Grayek spent the remainder of the war living underground in Warsaw. After the city was freed by the Red Army in early 1945, he helped locate the last Jews and get them to Israel.
1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on Adolf Hitler's Birthday
The Warsaw Ghetto uprising co-occurred with Adolf Hitler's birthday in 1943. I feel that it was an especially good birthday present for Hitler: the defeat of his elite force by a bunch of half starved, scarcely armed Jews. April 20th is Hitler's Birthday. In 1943, Heinrich Himmler wanted to give Hitler a nice birthday present. He decided to annihilate the entire Jewish Ghetto of Warsaw, which had been causing trouble in the early months of 1943. Instead, the Jews of Warsaw gave Hitler a present that he surely didn't want: months of armed rebellion that defeated the German army repeatedly.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Too Young To Live
They wanted to die a brave death. 600 men with some revolvers and machine guns. Almost every one of them would be killed - but the world realized that the Jews were fighting. On April 19, 1943, an uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto erupted. Germans sent over 2,000 soldiers, but the first days turned out to be successful for the insurgents. Jurgen Stroop who commanded the German forces said: "What a wonderful sight! I called out Heil Hitler! and pressed the button. A terrific explosion brought flames right up to the clouds... An unforgotten allegory of the triumph over Jewry."
Marek Edelman, leader of doomed Warsaw Ghetto uprising, interviewed
For decades Marek Edelman has found it painful to talk about his time as a commander in the doomed 1943 struggle by a handful of poorly armed Jews in Warsaw to rise up against the Nazi army. Edelman, then 24, took command of one of the revolt's 3 groups of fighters, all aged 13-22. His brigade included 50 "brush men" (their base was a brush factory). They adopted hit-and-run tactics. As supplies and forces began to decrease, they resorted to attacks at night. After the war he stayed in Poland: "When you were responsible for the life of some 60000 people, you don't leave and abandon the memory of them."
The Warsaw Ghetto: key facts and what remains
Few traces remain of what was once the Warsaw ghetto, the scene of the doomed Jewish uprising against the Nazi troops which broke out in April 1943. The Nazis leveled the district as they crushed the revolt, and then demolished much of the rest of Warsaw after a failed insurrection by the Polish resistance in 1944. The ruins were swept away during the huge communist-era reconstruction programme which changed the street layout. 3 sections of the ghetto wall are readily visible. They once formed part of the boundary of a zone of terror bricked off by the Nazis in November 1940.
Warsaw ghetto survivor wanted for killing of a resistance leader
A Polish widow living in Britain is facing extradition to Poland and 10 years in jail for her alleged part in the killing of Polish national hero general Emil Fieldorf who led the country's anti-Nazi resistance in the world war II using the alias Nil. A military court in Warsaw issued an arrest warrant demanding the extradition of Helena Wolinska-Brus, a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto. Wolinska-Brus claimed she was being made a scapegoat by the Polish government and denied involvement in the prosecution that led to Fieldorf's death.
Erich Steidtmann: The last known SS-man of killing squads in Warsaw
A former member of Hitler's elite SS may have indicted himself as a mass murderer after stepping from the shadows to complain about a woman's wartime memoir. Erich Steidtmann was offended to be portrayed as a philanderer who fathered a child out of wedlock in WWII and launched a lawsuit saying his "honour had been besmirched" in the book A Perfectly Normal Life. But in doing so he has revealed himself to be the last known survivor of the SS killing squads in the Warsaw Ghetto. The story of Steidtmann only surfaced because he happened to read a book by Lisl Urban - one of the Sudeten Germans - who worked as a secretary for the Gestapo in occupied Prague.
Warsaw Uprising Documentary brings Resistance Fighters together (Article no longer available from the original source)
Resistance fighters Joseph Kleszczynski and Stanislaw Aronson (one of the most decorated heroes of the 1944 Warsaw uprising) never met - until now. The uprising began on Aug. 1, 1944, and ended with the surrender of the outgunned Polish forces on Oct. 2, while the Soviet Red Army, pausing its advance against the Germans, stood by on the outskirts of the city. Aronson remembers on the first day of the uprising helping to capture a German stronghold that the SS used as a transit point. A photo of Aronson appears in a book about the battle, "Rising 44, The Battle for Warsaw," by Norman Davies.
FSB files about 1944 Warsaw uprising, Waffen-SS RONA brigade
1400-pages of Soviet secret police and Nazi intelligence documents about 1944 Warsaw uprising against the Nazis are now published. The Germans "didn't take the likelihood of a revolt seriously," but once it broke out "their detailed knowledge of the resistance set up enabled them to carry out pinpoint bombing which caused huge losses. Documents from Polish informers run by the Nazis inside the resistance demonstrate the degree of penetration of the movement by the Germans," said Marcin Majewski. The collection also examines the role of the Waffen-SS "Russian National Liberation Army" (RONA) brigade, made up of Soviet troops who had sided with the Nazis.
Poland Jews to get museum in the former Warsaw Ghetto
Poland was home to 3.5 million Jews before World War II, but most of them were killed by the Nazis. Thousands more emigrated in 1968 after an anti-Semitic campaign by the communists. Poland was the site of some of the most infamous Nazi German death camps, like Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka and Sobibor. The new museum will be built next to a memorial for the Jews of Warsaw who resisted Nazi rule.
New Book Documents Hareidi Fighters in Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
"Et La'asot Lehatzalat Yisrael" ("The Time to Rescue Israel") by Haim Shalem contradicts the view that ultra-Orthodox Jews opposed physical resistance and relied on divine intervention, and did not participate in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of April 1943. In contrast with the common belief there were rabbis in Warsaw who supported the Uprising. At first Menachem Zemba opposed the concept of rebellion, but after the large wave of transports from the ghetto to Treblinka (in July, 1942), he changed his mind and ruled "I see that, according to halakha it is a mitzvah to participate in the Uprising and to make use of the best tactics of war."
1943: SS and Wehrmacht units defeat Warsaw uprising
All resistance in the Warsaw ghetto has ended after 28 days of fighting. In his operational report, the SS commander Brigadier Juergen Stroop said the uprising began on 19 April when SS, police and Wehrmacht units using tanks and other armoured vehicles entered the ghetto to take citizens to the railway station. They were repelled by Jews using homemade explosives, rifles, small arms and "in one case a light machine-gun". Troops were in pitched battles day and night with groups of 20 or 30 both men and women. "On April 23 Himmler issued his order to complete the combing out of the Warsaw ghetto with the greatest severity and relentless tenacity."
My duty was to take pictures of the Warsaw uprising
On August 1 1944, Polish resistance fighters launched the biggest insurrection the Nazis ever faced - the Warsaw uprising. Two months later, a quarter of a million Poles were dead, the city in ruins. Until he was injured in the fighting, photographer Jerzy Tomaszewski recorded the uneven battle. Jerzy Tomaszewski was lying badly wounded in the rubble of the devastated city of Warsaw. He managed to raise himself on one arm and press the shutter to capture the catastrophic scene around him. It was the last war image he would take. It was September 6 1944, the 37th day of the Warsaw uprising.
6-page diary from the last days of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto (Article no longer available from the original source)
The endgame of the Nazi soldiers in Warsaw was clear: "By 1945, there will not be one Jew left in Europe." Yet, as the residents of the city's Jewish Ghetto began their desperate, doomed 27-day uprising against systematic slaugher, one young woman hiding in a lice-infested, bomb-blasted bunker bagan to record a diary of the last days. Written from her underground hideout, while fighting raged all around, the 6-page journal has been unearthed from archives in an Israeli museum. The final entry is written as Nazi soldiers mount grenade attacks on the hideout. The fate of the woman remains unknown. This is her account.
The Warsaw Uprising - Women who took on Hitler
On August 1, 1944, thousands of Poles, among them young girls, joined the Warsaw Uprising an attempt to expel the Nazis that led to terrible reprisals. 3 survivors recall the horror and the heroism of those days. --- A military nurse runs to reach an injured soldier. Suddenly, arms and legs fly through the air and blood spatters her clothes. A booby-trapped German tank has exploded, 700 metres away, killing 300 people. Marzenna Karczewska Schejbal was 20 that day. She and her sister, Ewa - the injured soldier - were among some 5,000 Polish female fighters of the Warsaw Uprising, a horrific yet largely forgotten piece of WWII history.
Caught between Stalin's Red Army and Hitler's elite SS
Caught between Stalin's advancing Red Army and Hitler's elite SS, a rag-tag army of partisans fought a last desperate battle for Polish independence. But 63 days later, 275,000 lay dead, and the capital was razed to the ground. 5pm, W-hour, Men are building a frontline barricade and the first shots are fired at the Nazis. The Uprising against the Third Reich has begun. Elite divisions of the SS plus special units of the Wehrmacht army were held in combat by ill-armed partisans fighting literally from underground, from sewers and cellars, for longer than it had taken the Nazis to invade entire countries earlier in the war.
A new complexion on the Allies' treatment of the Poles
For those who believe that wars can successfully be fought for "freedom and democracy", and talk as if history has some moral compass, Norman Davies's Rising '44 should be compulsory reading. The story of the Warsaw uprising of August 1944 rips away at many of our lazy assumptions about the outcome of the second world war: that the Allies won an absolute moral victory and that evil was defeated by good. Churchill and Roosevelt failed to put any coherent pressure on Stalin to help the Poles, particularly when the uprising stretched into its second month. He argues convincingly that Stalin was open to such pressure.
Betrayed by the Big Three - Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw
The Warsaw Rising of 1944 occupies a unique place in history, because it's one of the worst human catastrophes in modern history. From August to October 1944, the Polish resistance (Home Army) fought a desperate street-by-street battle against the Wehrmacht, while the Red Army watched from across the river. Outside Poland, however, the memory of Warsaw's agony is blurred partly because it is often confused with the Ghetto Uprising of 1943; partly because of a Communist propaganda campaign to belittle the "reactionaries"; and partly because for the Allies this was a shameful episode of the war, one which almost everyone except the Poles preferred oblivion.
Eyewitness Accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto
In 1940 the Nazis set up a ghetto in the Warsaw as a holding place prior to deportation. Over the summer of 1942, a 265,000 of the city's Jews were gassed at Treblinka camp nearby. It was the largest slaughter of a any single community in the WWII. On 19 April 1943, the Nazis began to destroy the Warsaw Ghetto. By nightfall, the bodies of children and women lay dead on the streets. The few survivors put up a heroic struggle, and the SS were forced to pull back in disarray. The unequal combat lasted until 16 May, when the ghetto surrendered and the Nazis razed the quarter. The Jewish revolt would have astonished the world, had the world then known about it.