Today marks the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 70 years ago.
When the Germans decided to “liquidate” the Ghetto as part of the “Endlösung” by starting deportations of 12000 people a day into death camps, the Jewish community didn’t just want to be passive about their annihilation by the Germans and wanted to give them at least so much hell, as long as possible. The battle raged four weeks and the Uprising could only be oppressed by heavy German forces.
The Jewish guerillas had only few firearms and a shitload of Molotov-Cocktails against a German force of over 2000 Waffen-SS, Wehrmacht and police troops, which were supported by heavy artillery and tanks. The Germans also made use of flamethrowers, air strikes and poisoned gas.
In the aftermath the whole Ghetto was destroyed, 12000 Jews died during the fightings, over 30000 got shot afterwards and the 7000 residents who survived the slaughter where deported to death camps and murdered there.
The picture above is from the infamous “Stroop report”, a dossier in the style of a photo album with the cynical title “There is no Jewish quarter in Warsaw anymore” by the German commander of the campaign, Waffen-SS general Jürgen Stroop. He got rewarded for this with an Iron Cross, first class.
The women depicted are captured guerilleras of the Zionist Youth Organisation HeHalutz, who fought in the Guerilla group ZOB. The woman on the right is Malka Zdrojewics, next to her is Rachela Wyszogrodzka. The woman on the left is assumed to be Rachela’s sister Bluma.
They weren’t shot on the spot by the Germans, but deported to Majdanek Concentration Camp. Malka Zdrojewics is one of the few survivors of Majdanek. After her liberation she went to Israel, 75% crippled by the severe tortures she had suffered.