Prof. Piotr Gliński: We Are Custodians of This Memory. 80th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Foto: INM

Author: Prof. Piotr GLIŃSKI
Professor of Humanities. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage. In 2005 - 2011, President of the Polish Sociological Association. Has cooperated with the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1997 -2005, Head of the Civic Society Department.

We Are Custodians of This Memory. 80th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

In April 1943, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, the Germans occupying the Polish capital surrounded the Warsaw Ghetto - the Jewish quarter they had created - in preparation for its final liquidation. On 19 April, the German police and SS auxiliary forces entered the ghetto to complete the extermination. Its residents took refuge in bunkers and hideouts. Jewish insurgents attacked the Germans with firearms, Molotov cocktails and hand grenades. Two German vehicles were set on fire with petrol bottles. The surprised occupiers were initially unable to break through the fierce resistance of the ghetto defenders.

Faced with strong opposition and early setbacks, the Germans began to systematically burn buildings, turning the ghetto streets into a fire trap. As the fighting continued inside, units of the Polish underground army moved against the Germans on the outside of the ghetto. Three sections of the Home Army tried unsuccessfully to breach its walls with explosives. The doomed Jews fought until the beginning of May. The Germans' demolition of the Great Synagogue on Tłomackie Street in Warsaw was a symbolic final act to mark the fall of the uprising.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the first metropolitan insurrection and the largest Jewish revolt during the German...

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