The Warsaw Ghetto Urprising in Yad Vashem Studies, Volume IX

Joseph Kermish


The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in the Light of a hitherto Unpublished Official German Report

The Warsaw ghetto uprising, which broke out on April 19, 1943, was described by Governor General Hans Frank as well-organized. To prevent Jews escaping, the sewers were flooded — unsuccessfully. Goebbels records very heavy fighting in early May. His information was provided by Wilhelm Ohlenbusch, in charge of propaganda from the Warsaw district. Two telegrams from Ohlenbusch are published here for the first time. The first, dated May 3, corroborates the determined heroic Jewish resistance. However, he underestimates the determination and staying power of the Jews when claiming an early German victory. When it was clear that SS and army units had failed to break the resistance, General Jürgen Stroop decided on April 23 to set the ghetto on fire by artillery bombardment. Yet, on May 10 the fighting was still fierce as the Jews had built and stocked fortified/armed bunkers and interconnecting tunnels with connections to the Aryan outside since the end of 1942. Materials and equipment were acquired to manufacture grenades and Molotov cocktails within the ghetto. The uprising humiliated the Germans and dispelled the myth of German invincibility. An earlier Ohlenbusch telegram, dated April 30, reports that over 1,200 Germans were involved in the fighting and that 2,347 ghetto fighters were captured. The number of dead is unknown.

Products specifications
Year 1973
Catalog No. 197301
Format Electronic article in Yad Vashem Studies, Volume IX, pp. 7-27, Edited by Livia Rothkirchen
Publisher Yad Vashem