Underground Warsaw Ghetto Press in Yad Vashem Studies, Volume I

Joseph Kermish


On the Underground Press in the Warsaw Ghetto

In the Warsaw ghetto the underground press was particularly active. Three main ideological groups regularly published illegally in Yiddish and/or Polish and/or Hebrew: a. the Zionist Movement especially the youth, viz., Hashomer Hatzair, Dror, Gordonia, Akiva, Hanoar Hatzioni, Poalei Zion, the General Zionists, and the Revisionists (Betar); b. the Bund (a relatively large circulation); and c. the Communists. The function and object of the press was its determination to strengthen Jewish resistance and instill faith that they could hold out till the enemy was overthrown. The youth must continue to fight but not neglect education. Some of these publications were delivered to provincial towns and some were even smuggled into the camps. Many Jews involved in the underground press were captured by the Gestapo and executed. The press covered a very wide range of subjects relating to life in the ghetto and to Jews elsewhere. It tried to uplift morale and reported on the events at the fronts. However, it did not flinch from describing the bestiality of the atrocities against Jews and called on Jews not to delude themselves. Vengeance will eventually be wreaked on the murderers. Despite the intolerable misery, social inequality still occurred, albeit on a smaller scale, as a new wealthy class of smugglers and collaborators arose. The bourgeoisie flourished while thousands starved to death or succumbed to typhus. For this state of affairs, the underground press blamed the Judenrat who taxed both rich and poor exactly the same amount for bread coupons, and similarly discriminated against the poor as regards housing allocations. The Jewish police, which included bullies, blackmailers, and thieves, oppressed their brethren cruelly and also came under constant attack from by the underground press.

Products specifications
Year 1957
Catalog No. 195705
Format Electronic article in Yad Vashem Studies, Volume I, pp. 85-123, Edited by Benzion Dinur and Shaul Esh
Publisher Yad Vashem