Białystok Ghetto uprising

The Białystok Ghetto uprising was an insurrection in the Jewish Białystok Ghetto against the Nazi German occupation authorities during World War II. The uprising was launched on the night of August 16, 1943 and was the second-largest ghetto uprising organized in Nazi-occupied Poland after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of April–May 1943.[2] It was led by the Anti-Fascist Military Organisation (Antyfaszystowska Organizacja Bojowa), a branch of the Warsaw Anti-Fascist Bloc.[3]

The revolt began upon the German announcement of mass deportations from the Ghetto. The main objective was to break the German siege and allow the maximum number of Jews to escape into the neighboring Knyszyn (Knyszyński) Forest. A group of about 300 to 500 insurgents armed with 25 rifles and 100 pistols as well as home-made Molotov cocktails for grenades, attacked the overwhelming German force with a great loss of life. Leaders of the uprising committed suicide. Several dozen combatants managed to break through and run into the Knyszyn Forest where they joined other guerrilla groups.[2][3]

Białystok Ghetto uprising
Part of World War II and the Holocaust
Bialystok map

Białystok ghetto, 1941–43. The area of the Uprising marked in brown, with top left-hand arrow pointing to the breakout area
Date16 - 20 August 1943
Result Uprising defeated
Commanders and leaders
Odilo Globocnik
300 to 500
Casualties and losses
9 Germans Wounded[1] 11,200 Deported to KZ camps
Several dozen to a few hundred reported to have escaped Ghetto to join partisans


The Białystok Ghetto was set up by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland soon after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In February 1943, the first wave of mass deportations to Treblinka extermination camp took place,[4] organized during country-wide Aktion Reinhard.[5] The final liquidation of the Ghetto was attempted on August 16, 1943 by regiments of the German SS reinforced by Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Latvian auxiliaries ("Hiwis"),[4] known as the "Trawniki men" .[6] During the night of August 16, 1943, several hundred Polish Jews started an armed uprising against the troops carrying out liquidation of the Ghetto.[4] The guerillas led by Mordechaj Tenenbaum and Daniel Moszkowicz were armed with only one machine gun, rifles, several dozen pistols, Molotov cocktails and bottles filled with acid. As with the earlier Warsaw Ghetto Uprising extinguished in May 1943, the Białystok uprising had no chances for military success. However, it was seen as a way to die in combat rather than in German camps. A Betar youth commander was Yitzhak Fleischer,[7] also spelled Fleisher,[8] or Berl Fleischer according to different source.[9]

Białystok smouldering ruins 1941
Smoldering ruins in Białystok (August 1943)[10]

The fights in isolated pockets of resistance lasted for several days, but the defence was broken almost instantly with a tank sent into the ghetto by SS Gruppenfuhrer Odilo Globocnik.[8] German soldiers set fire to the area. The commanders of the struggle committed suicide after their bunkers ran out of ammunition. In spite of the insurgency, the planned deportations to concentration and extermination camps went ahead on August 17, 1943 without any delay.[8] Approximately 10,000 Jews were led to the Holocaust trains and sent to camps in Treblinka, Majdanek and Auschwitz.[2] A transport of 1,200 children were sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp and later to Auschwitz.

Several dozen guerillas managed to break through to the forests surrounding Białystok where they joined the partisan units of Armia Krajowa and other organisations and survived the war. It is estimated that out of almost 60,000 Jews who lived in Białystok before World War II, only several hundred survived the Holocaust.

Notes and references

  1. ^ [Sara Bender "The Jews of Bialystok During World War II...pp.262-263]
  2. ^ a b c "The anniversary of the uprising in Bialystok ghetto". Virtual Shtetl. Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Białystok ghetto resistance. Part of: History of Jewish community in Białystok". Virtual Shtetl. Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Translated from Polish to Hebrew by Tzipora Eker-Survitz. Translated from Hebrew to English by Bella Bryks-Klein and edited by Ada Holtzman, Tel Aviv – September 2010 (December 1945). "Testimony of Dr. Szymon Datner". Walka i Zaglada Bialostockiego Ghetta. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  5. ^ The Black Book of Russian Jewry .p.202 reports 1 German killed 4 February 1943
  6. ^ Tadeusz Piotrowski (2006). "Ukrainian Collaboration". Poland's Holocaust. McFarland. p. 217. ISBN 0786429135. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  7. ^ "Yitzhak Fleischer, commander of Betar fighters in the Bialystok ghetto uprising". Ghetto Fighters House Archives. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Sara Bender (2008). The Jews of Bialystok During World War II and the Holocaust (Google Books preview). The End of the Ghetto. UPNE. pp. 253–263. ISBN 1584657294. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  9. ^ Alfred Katz (1970). Poland's Ghettos at War (Library of Congress: 78-120535). Google Book preview. Twayne Publishers. p. 90. Retrieved 19 March 2015. In the Bialystok Ghetto
  10. ^ Radek Puśko (1 October 2013). "Pamięć najlepszym świadectwem" [Memory is the best proof]. Fakty Białystok. Sources: Andrzej Lechowski, Ewa Rogalewska, Jerzy Antoniewicz, Adam Dobroński.


  • B. Mark, „Ruch oporu w getcie białostockim. Samoobrona-zagłada-powstanie”, Warszawa 1952.
  • „Obozy hitlerowskie na ziemiach polskich 1939 – 1945. Informator encyklopedyczny.”, Warszawa 1979 r.
Anti-Fascist Bloc

The Anti-Fascist Bloc was an organization of Polish Jews formed in the March 1942 in the Warsaw Ghetto. It was created after an alliance between leftist-Zionist, communist and socialist Jewish parties was agreed upon. The initiators of the bloc were Mordechai Anielewicz, Józef Lewartowski (Aron Finkelstein) from the Polish Workers' Party, Josef Kaplan from Hashomer Hatzair, Szachno Sagan from Poale Zion-Left, Jozef Sak as a representative of socialist-zionists and Izaak Cukierman with his wife Cywia Lubetkin from Dror. The Jewish Bund did not join the bloc though they were represented at its first conference by Abraham Blum and Maurycy Orzech. According to Hersz Berlinski and Izaak Cukierman, the Bund did not join because they were waiting for a general socialist organization to be formed which would encompass non-Jewish Poles.

The organization was active in the ghettos of occupied Poland, in the General Government, and in Silesia. It served as a basis for organized resistance against the Germans. It also published underground newspapers.

Members of the organization took part in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Białystok Ghetto Uprising, after being incorporated into the structures of the Jewish Fighting Organization. In Białystok the bloc function under the name "Anti-Fascist Combat Bloc". Before the uprisings, the Bloc organized escapes from the ghettos and accumulated arms.

Anti-Fascist Military Organisation

Antyfaszystowska Organizacja Bojowa (Polish for Anti-Fascist Military Organisation), AOB, was an underground organization formed in 1942 in the Ghetto in Białystok by former officers of the Polish Land Forces. It took part in the Białystok Ghetto uprising.

Its tasks included organisation of escape routes for the people incarcerated in the Ghetto as well as gathering arms and equipment for the future fight against the Germans. Since February 1943 it carried over many attacks on German authorities and armed forces operating in the Ghetto. On August 15, 1943, the AOB members started an ill-fated struggle against the liquidation of the Ghetto, which is known as the Białystok Ghetto Uprising.

Battle of Grotniki

The Battle of Grotniki took place on 4 May 1439 in the vicinity of Grotniki Duże, a village near Nowy Korczyn, currently in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship.

The battle was fought between the Hussite confederates under Spytko III of Melsztyn against the royal forces of King Władysław III of Poland under Hińcza of Rogów and de facto regent bishop Zbigniew Oleśnicki. The defeat of the non-Catholic forces marked the end of militant Hussite movement in Poland and the beginning of a complete consolidation of power in the Polish Kingdom, led by bishop Zbigniew.

Battle of Płowce

The Battle of Płowce took place on 27 September 1331 between the Kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Order.

Battle of Ustechko

The Battle of Ustechko (Polish: Uścieczko, Turkish: Yuvaniça) (October 6, 1694) was fought during the Polish–Ottoman War (1683–1699), between the armies of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on the one hand and of Khanate of Crimea and Ottoman Empire on the other. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces under the command of Stanisław Jan Jabłonowski defeated the Tatars and Ottomans forces commanded by Şehbaz Giray.

Battle of Żyrzyn

The Battle of Żyrzyn took place on August 8, 1863 in or near the village of Żyrzyn, Puławy County, Poland, between a small detachment of Russian troops and a force of Polish troops under the command of General Michal Heidenreich.

The Russian force of 500 soldiers and two cannon were escorting a load of 200,000 rubles for the Russian army, 140,000 of which was captured by the Polish forces, along with 282 prisoners of war. Of the remaining Russian troops, 181 were killed, and 87 men escaped along with the remaining 60,000 rubles. The embarrassing defeat was widely reported on by the European press, and throughout the January Uprisings the Polish insurgents counted the engagement, one of many similar small battles, as a "great victory".

Częstochowa Ghetto uprising

The Częstochowa Ghetto uprising was an insurrection in Poland's Częstochowa Ghetto against German occupational forces during World War II. It took place in late June 1943, resulting in some 2,000 Jews being killed.

The first instance of armed resistance took place on January 4, 1943, at the so-called Large Ghetto established by the Germans in April 1941. During the 'selection' of some 500 Jews to be deported to the ghetto in Radomsko, shooting broke out at the Warsaw Square (now, Ghetto Heroes Square) in which Mendel Fiszelewicz (Fiszelowicz) along with Isza Fajner were killed. 50 young Jews were executed in reprisal.

Daniel Moszkowicz

Daniel Moszkowicz aka "Dawid Chone" and "Jerzy" (born 1905 in Warsaw - 1943 in Białystok, Poland) was a merchant, non-commissioned reserve officer of the Polish Army, communist and the co-leader of the Białystok Ghetto Uprising.

He was member of the Communist Party of Poland. During the German occupation of Poland he worked as a cobbler and baker in the ghetto of Białystok and was member of the Antyfaszystowska Organizacja Bojowa. (Anti-Fascist Military Organization). He was co-leader of the resistance during the first German attempt of liquidation of the ghetto in Białystok in January and February 1943. He also co-leading the Białystok Ghetto Uprising in August 1943.

Moszkowicz is believed to have committed suicide surrounded by German troops.

Ghetto uprisings

The ghetto uprisings during World War II were a series of armed revolts against the regime of Nazi Germany between 1941 and 1943 in the newly established Jewish ghettos across Nazi-occupied Europe. Following the German and Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, Polish Jews were targeted from the outset. Within months inside occupied Poland, the Germans created hundreds of ghettos in which they forced the Jews to live. The new ghettos were part of the German official policy of removing Jews from public life with the aim of economic exploitation. The combination of excess numbers of inmates, unsanitary conditions and lack of food resulted in a high death rate among them. In most cities the Jewish underground resistance movements developed almost instantly, although ghettoization had severely limited their access to resources.The ghetto fighters took up arms during the most deadly phase of the Holocaust known as Operation Reinhard (launched in 1942), against the Nazi plans to deport all prisoners – men, women and children – to camps, with the aim of their mass extermination.

Greater Poland uprising (1806)

Greater Poland uprising of 1806 was a military insurrection by Poles in Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) against the occupying Prussian forces after the Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1772–1795).

The uprising was organized by General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski to help advancing French forces under Napoleon in liberating Poland from Prussian occupation. The Wielkopolska Uprising was a decisive factor that allowed the formation of the Duchy of Warsaw (1806) and the inclusion of Wielkopolska in the Duchy of Warsaw.

It was one of the three most successful uprisings in the history of Poland, in addition to the Greater Poland uprising of 1918–1919 and Sejny Uprising in 1919.

Greater Poland uprising (1846)

The 1846 Wielkopolska uprising (Polish: powstanie wielkopolskie 1846 roku) was a planned military insurrection by Poles in the land of Greater Poland against the Prussian forces, designed to be part of a general Polish uprising in all three partitions of Poland, against the Russians, Austrians and Prussians.

Haika Grossman

Haika Grossman (Hebrew: חייקה גרוסמן‎, 20 November 1919 – 26 May 1996) was an Israeli politician and member of Knesset. In her youth, she was a Zionist leader in Europe, a partisan, and a participant in the ghetto uprisings in Poland and Lithuania.

Grossman was born in Białystok, Poland. As a teenager she joined the HaShomer HaTzair Socialist-Zionist youth movement. As a leader of the movement in Poland, she was sent to the town of Brześć Litewski to organize the movement's activities there and in the surrounding region.

When World War II erupted, she moved to Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania), where she was active in the emergency underground leadership of HaShomer HaTzair. Upon the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, she returned to Białystok, where she helped organize the underground movement in the Białystok Ghetto. She served as a courier between that ghetto and those of Wilno, Lublin, Warsaw and others. Using forged papers, she managed to pass as a Polish woman named Halina Woranowicz. Her Polish identity enabled her to assist the underground movements in numerous towns and ghettoes, as well as the emerging partisan units being formed in the nearby forests of Poland and Lithuania. Aided by Otto Busse she also purchased arms and helped smuggle them into the ghettoes. In 1943, she took part in the Białystok Ghetto Uprising, and helped to establish an underground unit of anti-Nazi Germans.

After the war, she served on the Central Committee of the Jews of Poland, and was awarded Poland's highest medal for heroism. She emigrated to Mandatory Palestine in 1948 and joined Kibbutz Evron in the Western Galilee. She also served in various capacities in the Mapam Party. From 1950 to 1951 she was the head of Ga'aton Regional Council.

From 1969 to 1988 (aside from a break between 1981 and 1984), Grossman was a member of Knesset for Mapam and the Alignment (an alliance which Mapam was part of). As a parliamentarian, she focused on social issues and the status of women. Among the laws she helped pass were the right to abortions, laws relating to at-risk youth, and the law against beating children.

In 1993, Grossman was invited to light one of twelve torches traditionally kindled in the national ceremony marking Yom Ha'atzma'ut (Israel's Independence Day). Later, at a party for the torch lighters, she slipped down a flight of stairs and fell into a coma, which lasted three years, until her death in 1996.

Kraków Uprising (1944)

The Kraków Uprising was a planned but never realized uprising of the Polish Resistance against the German occupation in the city of Kraków during World War II.

Kraków uprising

The Kraków Uprising of February 1846 was an attempt, led by Polish insurgents such as Jan Tyssowski and Edward Dembowski, to incite a fight for national independence. The uprising was centered on the city of Kraków, the capital of a small state of Free City of Krakow. It was directed at the powers that partitioned Poland, in particular the nearby Austrian Empire. The uprising lasted about nine days, and ended with Austrian victory.

List of battles of the Polish–Soviet War

List of battles of the Polish-Soviet War by chronology:

Soviet "Target Vistula" offensive (January–February 1919)

Battle of Bereza Kartuska (February 9, 1919: the first battle of the conflict)

Vilna offensive: Polish offensive to Vilna (April 1919)

First Battle of Lida (April 1919)

Battle of Berezina (1919)

Operation Minsk: Polish offensive to Minsk (July–August 1919)

Battles of Chorupań and Dubno (19 July 1919)

Battle of Daugavpils: joint Polish-Latvian operation (3 January 1920)

Battle of Latyczów (18-22 February 1920)

Battle of Koziatyn (25–27 April 1920)

Battle of Czarnobyl (27 April 1920)

Battle of the Berezina (1920) (15 May 1920)

Kiev Offensive (May–June 1920)

Battle of Wołodarka (29 May 1920)

Battle of Bystryk (31 May 1920)

Battle of Boryspil (2 June 1920)

Battle of Borodzianka (11-13 June 1920)

Battle of Głębokie (4-6 July 1920)

Battle of Mironówka

Battle of Olszanica

Battle of Żywotów

Battle of Miedwiedówka

Battle of Dziunków

Battle of Wasylkowce

Battle of Grodno (19-20 July 1920)

Battle of Brody (29 July – 2 August 1920)

Battle of Serock

Battle of Ostrołęka (2-6 August 1920)

Battle of Lwów (July–September 1920)

Battle of Tarnopol (31 July - 6 August 1920)

Battle of Warsaw (15 August 1920)

Battle of Nasielsk, Battle of Radzymin, Battle of Ossów, Battle of Borkowo, Battle of Kock (14–15 August 1920)

Battle of Cyców (15–16 August 1920)

Battle of Dęblin and Mińsk Mazowiecki (16–18 August 1920)

Battle of Zadwórze: the "Polish Thermopylæ" (17 August 1920)

Battle of Przasnysz (21–22 August 1920)

Battle of Sarnowa Góra (21–22 August 1920)

Battle of Białystok (22 August 1920)

Battle of Zamość (29 August 1920) - Budyonny's attempt to take Zamość

Battle of Komarów: great cavalry battle, ending in Budyonny's defeat (31 August 1920)

Battle of Hrubieszów (1 September 1920)

Battle of Sejny (September 1920)

Battle of Kobryń (1920) (14–15 September 1920)

Battle of Dytiatyn (16 September 1920)

Battle of Brzostowica (20 September 1920)

Battle of the Niemen River (September 26–28, 1920)

Battles of Obuchowe and Krwawy Bór (27–28 September 1920)

Battle of Zboiska

Battle of Minsk (1920) (18 October 1920)

Lwów uprising

The Lwów uprising (Polish: powstanie lwowskie, akcja Burza) was an armed insurrection by the Home Army (Polish: Armia Krajowa) underground forces of the Polish resistance movement in World War II against the Nazi German occupation of the city of Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine) in the latter stages of World War II. It began on July 23, 1944 as part of a secret plan to launch the countrywide all-national uprising codenamed Operation Tempest ahead of the Soviet advance on the Eastern Front. The Lwów uprising lasted until July 27 and resulted in the liberation of the city. However, shortly afterwards the Polish soldiers were arrested by the invading Soviets. Some were forced to join the Red Army, others sent to the Gulag camps. The city itself was occupied by the Soviet Union.

Mordechai Tenenbaum

Mordechaj Tenenbaum (Hebrew: מרדכי טענענבוים; 1916–1943) was a member of the Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (Jewish Fighting Organization) and leader of the Białystok Ghetto Uprising.

Uprising of Polish political exiles in Siberia

Siberian Uprising or Baikal Insurrection (Polish: Powstanie zabajkalskie or Powstanie nad Bajkałem, Russian: Кругобайкальское восстание) was a short-lived uprising of about 700 Polish political prisoners and exiles (Sybiracy) in Siberia, Russian Empire, that started on 24 June 1866 and lasted for a few days, until their defeat on 28 June.

Zamość uprising

The Zamość uprising comprised World War II partisan operations, 1942–1944, by the Polish resistance (primarily the Home Army and Peasant Battalions) against Germany's Generalplan-Ost forced expulsion of Poles from the Zamość region (Zamojszczyzna) and the region's colonization by German settlers.The Polish defense of the Zamość region was one of Poland's largest resistance operations of World War II.

Polish uprisings
Second Republic
World War II
People's Republic
Piast Poland
Jagiellon Poland
Poland partitioned
Second Republic
Second World War
People's Republic
Third Republic

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