The Jewish Ghetto Uprising 1943
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising[a] was the 1943 act of Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Poland during World War II to oppose Nazi Germany‘s final effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Majdanek and Treblinka death camps.
After the Grossaktion Warsaw of summer 1942, in which more than a quarter of a million Jews were deported from the ghetto to Treblinka and murdered, the remaining Jews began to build bunkers and smuggle weapons and explosives into the ghetto. The left-wing Jewish Combat Organization (ŻOB) and right-wing Jewish Military Union (ŻZW) formed and began to train. A small resistance effort to another roundup in January 1943 was partially successful and spurred Polish resistance groups to support the Jews in earnest.
The uprising started on 19 April when the ghetto refused to surrender to the police commander SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop, who ordered the burning of the ghetto, block by block, ending on 16 May. A total of 13,000 Jews were killed, about half of them burnt alive or suffocated. German casualties were probably fewer than 150, with Stroop reporting 110 casualties [16 killed + 1 dead/93 wounded].
It was the largest single revolt by Jews during World War II. The Jews knew that the uprising was doomed and their survival was unlikely. Marek Edelman, the only surviving ŻOB commander, said their inspiration to fight was “not to allow the Germans alone to pick the time and place of our deaths”. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the uprising was “one of the most significant occurrences in the history of the Jewish people”.
And, of course, the American Revolution started on this date, with battles in Concord, Lexington, and Menotomy, Massachussets in 1775.