Tales of Inhumanity: 7th May 1943, The ‘end of the world’ approaches in the Warsaw Ghetto
A young woman writes:
“The Germans usually attacked us at night. Now they are expanding their attacks to the daytime as well. We must maintain absolute silence on our bunks so that the enemy will not discover us.
I am going out into the street. The streets – Mila, Zamenhof, Kurza, Nalewki, Lubecki – all are on fire. Workshops, apartments, stores, entire houses are burning. The ghetto is nothing more than a sea of flames.
A very strong wind is blowing, which fans the fire and carries the sparks from the burning houses to those that have not yet caught fire.
The fire destroys everything. The sight is horrifying, shocking. The fire spreads so quickly that people cannot escape from the buildings and they perish tragically. People with bundles run from house to house, from street to street. There is no salvation; no one knows where to hide. They search in desperation but there is no deliverance, no refuge, death rules everything.
The walls of the ghetto are surrounded. No one goes out and no one comes in. Clothing is burning on people’s bodies. Screams of pain, sobbing. Everyone wants to be saved, everyone tries to save his own life.
People are choking from the smoke. All are begging for help. Most of them, almost all of them, cry out to God: “God, show your power, have mercy on us.” God is as silent as a Sphinx and does not answer. And you, the nations, why are you silent? Don’t you see that they want to annihilate us? Why are you silent?
Despite the danger, Jews are running through the streets just to save their lives. Everything is engulfed in fire. It looks like the end of the world has come. “Save yourselves if you can!” The situation is horrifying, terrible. Everyone wants to be saved. Hell has come to earth. Dante’s Inferno – it cannot be believed and it cannot be described.
A new day is beginning. With the new day, there is a deathly silence. People are in their corners without food or water. A cemetery in flames. The sound of metal falling and of burning walls collapsing is heard.
The ghetto is burning for the fourth day. All we see are chimneys standing and the frames of the houses that burned down. In the first moment, this spectacle arouses a shudder of horror: yes, this is the work of Hitler’s vandals, who hope that the entire world will look this way. There is no doubt that they will not succeed in this.
In our thoughts, we return to the past. We’ve lost many things. The only thing left to us is our hiding place. Of course, it is not a safe place.
We live the day, the hour, the moment.”
A few days later the following report was filed by Juergen Stroop a Nazi functionary reporting on the above:
“180 Jews, bandits and sub-humans, were destroyed. The former Jewish quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence. The large-scale action was terminated at 20:15 hours by blowing up the Warsaw Synagogue…. Total number of Jews dealt with 56,065, including both Jews caught and Jews whose extermination can be proved…. Apart from 8 buildings (police barracks, hospital, and accommodations for housing working-parties) the former Ghetto is completely destroyed. Only the dividing walls are left standing where no explosions were carried out.”
- Rare Photos Show Jews in Lodz Ghetto Observing Sukkot in 1941 (algemeiner.com)
- Italy remembers 1943 roundup of Jews amid turmoil (bigstory.ap.org)
- me-ander: Never Again, Never Forget, Irena Sendler (me-ander.blogspot.com)