Today is the seventieth anniversary of the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, which began on April 19, 1943, when German troops and police entered the ghetto to deport its surviving inhabitants to the Treblinka concentration camp.
For the best part of a month, seven hundred and fifty heavily-outnumbered Jewish fighters, together with some members of the Polish resistance fought with smuggled and homemade weapons against a mixture of Waffen-SS, Gestapo, and Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish police, under the overall command of SS Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop (third on the left).
Stroop’s forces took nearly a month to crush what he called ‘Jews and Polish bandits’, fighting street by street and burning buildings to flush out the resistance from underground bunkers.
On May 16, 1943, the revolt was finally crushed and the last Jews surrendered. 13,000 Jews were killed during the uprising. 56,000 were rounded up in the aftermath, most of whom were sent to Treblinka, Majdanek and other camps for extermination or forced labour.
This is what the victors left behind them, after completing the destruction of the largest Jewish community in Europe:
Tomorrow is Hitler’s birthday, and the Danubia fraternity – an umbrella organization of far-right groups in Germany – is staging a conference ‘to teach young people about issues such as democracy’ in Munich to coincide with the event.
German rightwing extremism is only component of a fascist resurgence fuelled – as it was in the 1930s – by economic collapse, poverty and social implosion, whether in Greece…
Racism always forms new tributaries from one generation to the next, forging new rationalisations and new objects of hatred; Jews, Muslims, Roma, Rohingya, Palestinians, or simply ‘immigrants’. But its consequences are always the same; victimisation, marginalisation and persecution; the dehumanisation of ‘the Other’; ghettoisation, separation, expulsion, and – at its furthest extreme, genocide.
No society is immune to these tendencies…
All the more reason to pause and remember the Jews of Warsaw who once refused to be walled in, and chose to die fighting rather than in the gas chambers – and this poster, published by the ZOB ( Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa), Jewish Combat Organization, which fought in the uprising: