Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Fortunately the New York Times didn't do this, despite their likely bias. For those interested, here is how they actually reported elements of the story:
LONDON, April 18—The battle of the Warsaw ghetto began a year ago tomorrow. Tonight, at the headquarters of the Polish Government in exile, a courier from the Polish underground forces gave the first detailed, connected account of those six weeks of desperate fighting.

Some 3,000 to 5,000 Jews battled several times their number of German police and elaborately armed Elite Guard troops on roofs, through alleys and in cellars. Holding out here and there in little groups of men, women and youths, the Jews were put down at last’ after having cost the Germans several hundred killed and wounded. Those Jews who remained alive were herded out to execution, Concentration camps or slavery.

Only One Building Whole
The ghetto itself was in utter ruin. The only building intact when the courier left Warsaw at the end of January was the Pawiak political prison for Poles, just inside the ghetto walls. Polish prisoners were still being brought to it to stay briefly before being taken into a schoolyard and shot. Their bodies were soaked with kerosene and burned in heaps.

Fearing that Jews still survived in the cellars, the Germans were blowing up even the ruins. Outside the walls, Poles heard daily blasts of dynamite and machine guns killing prisoners nine months after the battle of the ghetto had begun.
The courier who brought this story, and who goes here by the false name of Lieut. Jerzy Jur, arrived from Poland by a devious route early this month. He had reached Warsaw from London on a secret mission just before the ghetto uprising began on April 19.

By that time, repeated massacres had reduced the ghetto’s population to about 40,000. The revolt came not by deliberate plan but spontaneously, out of desperation. The Jews had been summoned to assemble in the main square of the ghetto on April 19. They knew that that meant going into forced labor j.n German industries, or death. They just did not assemble.

Armed by Underground
There were arms for only about 3,000 Jews, and about that number had had military training. They had been armed by the Polish underground with weapons bought from German, Italian and Hungarian soldiers on their way to and from the Russian front.
“When the Jews did not assemble,” Lieutenant Jur said, “the German police started to enter the ghetto in force. The Jews resisted. It was a bright spring day and I was just outside the ghetto walls when the noise of shots and bombs began.
“The Poles at first were jubilant. The ordinary Pole thought that the Jews had inside knowledge that the second front was opening and so they thought this was the first blow toward deliverance. Those of us who knew better, though, were sick at heart, because we knew there could be no second front then.
“The Jews won the admiration of the whole city by their fight. They lay with rifles, machine guns and grenades on rooftops, in windows and on balconies. I remember one small, dark Jewish girl about 25 who manned a machine gun by herself on a balcony. She wore a dark blue dress. Afterward, I saw her body stretched out there.
Tanks Knocked Out
“The Germans shelled the ghetto, but still the Jews held. Then they brought up tanks, armored cars and flame-throwers. The Jews knocked out some of these with hand grenades manufactured from stolen explosives and with blazing bottles of gasoline.
“It was nine days before the Germans finally broke into the ghetto. They began a systematic mopping-up from roofs through every floor and down to the cellars.
(Pole Tells Story of Ghetto Battle
by Harold Denny
The New York Times, Apr. 19, 1944; pg. 5)

After telling how the battle raged for thirty-five days, Mr. Van Paassen related: “On the thirty-fifth day came the end. On the afternoon of that day but two small groups of Jews were left. One of them, made up of young men and women, had turned a tenement house into a fortress.
“Seventeen times the Nazis in mass formation tried to storm the place. Each time they were beaten back by the hail of shot and with severe losses. On the eighteenth attempt they broke into the house.
“The last Jewish bullet had been fired. The handful of surviving defenders retreated up the staircase, fighting every inch of the way. On every landing and In every room lay the dead and wounded. Masses of Nazi soldiers filled the house and forced and pushed their way up the stairs. Finally they reached the roof.
“There the last stand was made. One of the Jewish girls had wrapped the flag of Zion* around her body and the others stood around her close together, arms around each other’s shoulders, as if they were about to dance the horab.
“For a moment were heard the strains of the Hatikvah, until the raucous, triumphant cries of the German soldiers who had reached the roof interrupted the singing. But the Nazi cries were in turn interrupted by a terrific roar. One of the Jewish boys had set off a charge of explosive and the house went down like Dagon’s temple at Gaza, burying friend and foe alike. ....
(Jews Here Acclaim Heroes of Warsaw
The New York Times, Apr. 20, 1944; pg. 10)

*If you find yourself feeling that things would be simpler if America would just let Israel be eaten by the anti-Semitic jackals of the world it is worth remembering why many Jews came to desire to have a state in their ancient homeland in the first place.

A note on the Nazi view of the uprising:
And so it went for the first few days, the poorly armed defenders giving ground before the attacks of tanks, flame throwers and artillery but keeping up their resistance. General Stroop could not understand why “this trash and subhumanity,” as he referred to the besieged Jews, did not give up....

[Stroop said,] 'Within a few days it became apparent that the Jews no longer had any intention to resettle voluntarily, but were determined to resist evacuation . . . Whereas it had been possible during the first days to catch considerable numbers of Jews, who are cowards by nature, it became more and more difficult during the second half of the operation to capture the bandits and Jews. Over and over again new battle groups consisting of 20 to 30 Jewish men, accompanied by a corresponding number of women, kindled new resistance.'
(The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
by William L. Shirer. (Simon and Schuster) 1990 :976-977)

The same truth can be seen from an evil perspective, which naturally perverts the truth.

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