Liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto

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The Polish uprising

In August the non-Jewish citizens of Warsaw rose up against the Germans in what is now known as the Polish uprising. The Soviet Army was a short distance away, but did not come to the aid of the Poles.

The Germans razed the city to the ground, rounding up more than 150,000 Poles and sending them to forced labour camps. 

The Soviet army liberated Warsaw on 17 January 1945. Despite the city being razed to the ground, 300 Jews were found hiding in remains of the Polish part of the city.

The liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto began on the eve of Passover, 19 April 1943. 

The Jews had been given prior warning of the pending liquidation, so were ready and waiting in their bunkers, which had been built over the previous months. The general population of the ghetto were also in hiding in anticipation of the German army and SS officers entering the ghetto.

The Germans were met by heroic fighting from the men and women of the ZOB fighters attacked. After several days of guerrilla warfare, the Germans began searching for the Jewish fighters bunker-by-bunker, building-by-building, and burning down the ghetto as they fought.

On 8 May the Nazis discovered the ZOB leaders in their bunker.

Eight days later the Germans considered the operation over despite many individual fighters remaining hidden in the ghetto for over a year. In this time several thousand Jews managed to escape to the Polish side of the city.