Robert Rozett: The Little-known Uprising ... Warsaw Ghetto, January 1943

The writer is the director of the Yad Vashem Libraries, author of Approaching the Holocaust, Texts and Contexts, Vallentine Mitchell, 2005 and Conscripted Slaves: Hungarian Jewish Forced Laborers on the Eastern Front, soon to be published by Yad Vashem and University of Nebraska Press.

In January 1943 there were only 60,000 Jews left in the Warsaw Ghetto.

They were what remained of the approximately 440,000 Jews who had been confined there. One-fifth had died of disease and starvation during the past two years, and the previous summer some 265,000 had been deported to the Treblinka extermination camp, and over 30,000 to other camps.

At the start of the great deportation, the head of the Jewish Council, Adam Czerniakow, had committed suicide rather than comply with German demands to provide census information about the ghetto, realizing the Germans would use it for the coming Aktion. His death, however, did nothing to stop the trains from rolling out of Warsaw.

With Czerniakow dead, in the wake of the deportations a new de facto leadership emerged in the ghetto – the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB), headed by Mordecai Anielewicz. The ZOB was a coalition primarily of various Zionist youth movements and the Jewish socialist Bund.

Alongside it there was a smaller armed underground group, the Jewish Military Union (ZZW) which represented the Revisionist Zionists.

ON MONDAY, January 18, 1943, 70 years ago, German forces entered the ghetto to round up Jews for transport...

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