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Simon Wiesenthal

The Warsaw Ghetto contained 500,000 Jews, who were mainly drawn from Warsaw and its vicinity. Isolated from the world, surrounded by high walls, they were tormented by prohibi tions that, when violated, had only one punishment: death.

As a ruse to facilitate their deportations to Treblinka, the Nazis promised work in the East and thousands volunteered. They had nothing left to lose in the Ghetto. Their lives did not belong to them anymore. it was a life on call, an existence on leave from death.

The original 500,000 inhabitants were reduced to 40,000. They knew what was awaiting them. They had no illusions, no hope. They could no longer be deceived.

The SS, no longer able to rely on trickery, decided to bring the Jews out of the Ghetto by force. The last act of the Ghetto's tragedy became the greatest armed uprising of the Jews in 1900 years. A Jewish fighting organization had arisen in the Ghetto. it had united all the political groups in the Ghetto and even had contacts with the Polish underground resistance movement. Their password was: If we must perish, then let it be in battle. Although almost all did fall in battle, the news of the Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto reached the world.

The greatness of the Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto was the certain and tragic knowledge of the fighters that they would never be able to win, but would perish under any circumstances.

The memory of the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto will remain alive in the Jewish people and in all peace loving nations, as long as a love of freedom remains alive in man.

Copyright © 1998, The Simon Wiesenthal Center
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