Documents from the Warsaw Ghetto
Yad Vashem Studies, Volume XVII
Christopher R. Browning and Yisrael Gutman
The Reports of a Jewish “Informer” in the Warsaw Ghetto
Jewish informers relayed to the Germans mainly rumors spreading in the ghetto, but also the general mood, the economic situation and cultural activities. Mostly, their identity is unknown. Already in March 1942, there were rumors of mass gassing of Lodz and Lublin Jews in death camps. Most of the Germans high officials, distant from the camps, also learned of the atrocities at this time. Informers provided no information about underground activities. A weekly report in March outlines the mood during Passover 1942 and mentions the influx of German Jewish deportees into the ghetto. In April reports range from the establishment of orphanages to cultural activities and to thoughts about the outcome of the war. The labor potential of the ghetto inhabitants is emphasized, particularly its suitability for working in small factories manufacturing items for the German army. In May the big news concerns the arrest of Josef Szerynski, head of the Jewish Police — not a popular figure. Jews arriving from Lodz ghetto gave the impression that conditions there were better than in Warsaw. Twenty pages of verbatim reports in German follow the introduction.