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Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Since 1943, April 19th marks the day of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, led by Mordechai Anielewitz, barricaded themselves in bunkers and resisted the German Aktion of April 1943. After a month of valiant fighting, the Uprising was quashed and the ghetto burned to the ground.

Nazis established ghettos to confine Jews until they could be executed. The Warsaw ghetto, enclosed at first with barbed wire but later with a brick wall 3 metres high and 18 km long, comprised the old Jewish quarter of Warsaw. By the summer of 1942, nearly 500,000 Jews lived within its 840 acres; many had no housing at all, and those who did were crowded in at about nine people per room. Starvation and disease, especially typhus, killed thousands each month.

On July 22, 1942, Germans began the mass deportations from the Warsaw ghetto. By the time they ended on September 21 some 265,000 inhabitants of the ghetto had been deported to the Treblinka extermination camp.

April 19 was the first day of Passover, the Jewish holiday celebrating freedom from slavery in Egypt. Before dawn, 2,000 SS men and German army troops moved into the area with tanks, rapid-fire artillery, and ammunition trailers. While most remaining Jews hid in bunkers, by prearrangement, the Jewish Fighting Organisation and a few independent bands of Jewish guerrillas, in all some 1,500 strong, opened fire with their motley, handmade weaponry destroying a number of tanks, killing German troops, and holding off reinforcements trying to enter the ghetto. The Germans withdrew in the evening. They planned to liquidate the ghetto in three days. The Jews held out for nearly a month!

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising became a symbol of resistance for all Jews during World War II. It is also a very important anniversary in Poland, where people need to remember about their Jewish co-citizens - both in the past and nowadays. The daffodil flowers are a symbol of our remembrance!

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