On 19 April we commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It was on 19 April 1943 when the German troops entered the ghetto to fulfil Heinrich Himmler’s order to conduct final liquidation of the ghetto. They encountered an unprecedented resistance of the Jewish fighters, who for almost a month struggled with the occupants, without any hope for victory, believing only in protecting their honour and dignity.
It is estimated that about 56.000 people were killed or captured during the uprising, while additional 5-6.000 died under the ruins or were burned alive. The German losses are harder to estimate: the official reports mention 16 dead but this data is probably understated.
The high point of this year’s commemorations will be ceremonies at the foot of the monument to Ghetto heroes, to be attended by state and municipal authorities. Volunteers will hand out yellow jonquils made of paper in the streets of Warsaw and other cities, symbols of memory of the 1943 Ghetto uprising heroes. The flowers symbolize memory, respect and hope. They refer to Marek Edelman, the last leader of the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB) who used to receive jonquils from an unknown person on each anniversary of the uprising. Also, on every April 19 he used to place a bunch of yellow jonquils at the Ghetto Heroes monument.
You will find more at www.jewishmusuem.org.pl.
Photo from Jürgen Stroop’s report to Heinrich Himmler from May 1943 and one of the best-known pictures of World War II.
The original German caption reads: “Forcibly pulled out of dug-outs.”