Photos: The Warsaw Ghetto, IIClick on a thumbnail image to view the full photograph.
A line of people wait to get a drink of water in the overcrowded Warsaw ghetto which housed about half a million Jews. Living conditions were miserable; insufficient food and water, unsanitary conditions, and overcrowding led to starvation and rampant disease. Children scale a wall to smuggle food into the ghetto. Conditions were so extreme that they engaged in this activity despite the proclamation issued by Dr. Ludwig Fischer (Governor of the Warsaw District from October, 1939 to January, 1945), imposing the death penalty on any Jews who left the ghetto and also on those who helped them. Forced labor was another Nazi strategy to exploit Jews. Huge German concerns as well as the local occupation authorities reaped large profits from barely paid or unpaid Jewish labor. This photograph shows Jews being forced to work in a clothing factory in the Warsaw ghetto. Jews are forced to work under terrible conditions in a metal shop in the Warsaw ghetto. Pawia Street is bustling with a small portion of the approximately 450,000 people that lived in the Warsaw ghetto in early 1941. At this time, the ghetto contained about 840 acres, of which 760 acres were habitable. About 37% of the greater Warsaw population was squeezed into 4.6% of the area of the city. Children in the Warsaw ghetto sell books to help their families earn money. Rubenstein, a popular figure in the Warsaw ghetto in 1941-42, used humor and biting mockery as a way to express the anger and hatred Jews felt toward the Nazis and the ghetto police. This is a shop producing wooden shoes. It was one of several German enterprises in the Warsaw ghetto equipped with machinery and raw materials stolen from the Jews. With the aid of practically unpaid Jewish slave labor, ghetto factories filled orders for the German war economy. A very young resident of the Warsaw ghetto in 1941. A young man in the Warsaw ghetto eats some food. Ration cards allowed ghetto residents only 300 calories of food daily, a small fraction needed for sustaining health. A quiet moment for an unidentified man in the Warsaw ghetto. Warsaw ghetto, end of 1941. Listening to communiqués about the Eastern Front. Warsaw ghetto, 1941. Homeless children. Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum (1900-1944), one of the leaders of the Anti-Fascist Bloc in the Warsaw ghetto, organized the underground ghetto archives. His Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto gives detailed accounts of daily events and conditions. He was murdered by the Gestapo in March, 1944. Three of the ten metal boxes and two milk cans in which Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum hid documents and materials. He intended to preserve for future generations detailed information about life in the Warsaw ghetto. In September, 1946, the metal boxes were discovered under the ruins of a house. In December, 1950, the milk cans with the second part of the archives were recovered. These materials and documents are now in the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. Dr. Janus Korczak was a writer, educator, and founder of an original system of education, and patron of children to whom he remained faithful to the end. Not wanting to abandon the orphans entrusted to his care in the Warsaw ghetto when they were condemned to death by the Nazis, Korczak refused a chance to save himself. He was voluntarily deported, together with the children of his orphanage, on August 5, 1942, and died with them at Treblinka.
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A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 2005.