Warsaw concentration camp

The Warsaw concentration camp (German: Konzentrationslager Warschau, short KL or KZ Warschau) was an associated group of the German Nazi concentration camps, located in German-occupied Warsaw, the capital of Poland.

Warsaw
Concentration camp
Gesio giew2
Polish insurgents toured around Gęsiówka prison of the Warsaw concentration camp complex, by a freed Jewish prisoner (August 5, 1944). Photo by Eugeniusz Lokajski.
Warsaw concentration camp is located in Poland
Warsaw concentration camp
Location of Warsaw within Poland
LocationWarsaw, Poland
Operated byNazi Germany
CommandantWilhelm Göcke (June 1943 – September 1943)
Nikolaus Herbet (September 1943 – July 1944)
OperationalAutumn 1942–August 1944
Number of gas chambersGęsia Street
InmatesPoles, Jews, Greeks, Romani people
KilledDisputed
Liberated byHome Army

Planning and establishment

According to the Nazi Pabst Plan, Warsaw was to be turned into a provincial German city. To accomplish this, the Jewish population was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto before being eventually deported and mostly murdered. The Nazis' next target was the Polish population of the city, who were rounded in łapankas (roundups) for arrest and deportation.

Oswald Pohl KL Warschau 1943
Letter from Oswald Pohl to Heinrich Himmler dated 23 July 1943 KZ Warsaw

The earliest official mention of the Warsaw concentration camp (KZ Warschau) is from June 19, 1943, which referred to the concentration camp in the ruins of the former Warsaw Ghetto. However, the term KZ Warschau was also used to describe similar camps that were discovered at an earlier date. Nevertheless, it is estimated that the camp was in operation from autumn 1942 until the Warsaw Uprising. The first commandant of the camp was Wilhelm Göcke, a former warehouse manager in Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. The camp was designed to provide a workforce to clean up the levelled ruins of the former Warsaw Ghetto and ultimately turn this area into a planned recreational park for the SS.

The exact date of the camp's creation remains unknown. Some historians have suggested that it was created following the orders of SS-Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl on June 11, 1943. However, others, among them historian and Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) judge Maria Trzcińska,[1] claimed that the camp had already been operational prior to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of April 1943. The factual basis for this aforementioned claim is that on October 9, 1942, the SS head Heinrich Himmler issued an order in which he stated, regarding the population of the Warsaw Ghetto: "I've issued orders and requested that all the so-called arms factories workers working only as tailors, furriers or bootmakers be grouped in the nearest concentration camps, that is in Warsaw and in Lublin."

Organization

KLWarschau
U.S. aerial photograph of northern Warsaw Ghetto area in May 1943
Gęsiowka Prison in Warsaw (1944)
Gęsiowka Prison in Warsaw (1944).

In the Atlas zur deutschen Zeitgeschichte 1918-1968 published in 1986 in Deutschland KL, Warschau is designated as a Hauptlager ("main camp"), and as such, it has the same status as KL Dachau.[2] Besides Germans and the Volksdeutsche, the guards also included ethnic Ukrainians and Latvians from Trawniki concentration camp.

The camp was composed of six small sections located in different areas of Warsaw, all of which were connected by railway and were under unified organization and one command. In chronological order of opening, those were:

  1. Konzentrationslager (concentration camp) at Koło area (formerly a Kreigsgefangenenlager POW camp for the Polish Army soldiers captured in 1939);) this part remains controversial since local residents claim Maria Trzcinska mistook buildings of "drewniane Kolo" housing project for a camp.
  2. Gęsia Street (now: Anielewicza Street) concentration camp (formerly Arbeitserziehungslager, or "reeducational labour camp") in the former ghetto known as Gęsiówka;
  3. a camp for foreign Jews located on Nowolipie Street;
  4. Bonifraterska Street camp near Muranowski Square in the former ghetto;
  5. the former Gestapo prison on Pawia Street known as Pawiak.

The overall area of the camp was 1.2 km² (0.46 sq mi), with 119 barracks purposely built to hold approximately 40,000 prisoners, its infrastructure including several crematoriums.

Death in KL Warschau

Warsaw Uprising - Giewont Company in Gęsiowka
An insurgent patrol approaching the Gęsia 26 Street crematorium.

The IPN estimates that the number of victims killed at those camps to be "not less than tens of thousands". The victims included ethnic Poles, Jews, Greeks, Romani people, Belarusians and the German-interned officers of the Italian Army.

According to IPN, the majority of those executed at the camp were killed by gunfire, mostly with machine guns, both in the camp and in an adjoining "security zone". Some of the hostages and prisoners were also publicly executed in the streets of Warsaw by means of firing squad shooting and hanging. The first gassing there took place on October 17, 1943, killing at least 150 Poles caught in a street roundup and about 20 Belgian Jews. A relatively small number of victims were sadistically killed by drunken guards in the so-called "amphitheatre" at Gęsiówka, or hanged at the so-called "death wall" (ściana śmierci) at Koło. Besides the outright murders, a majority of deaths in the camps resulted from physical exhaustion and typhus epidemics.

Bodies were either cremated in crematoria or open-air pyres (including at a former sports stadium) or simply buried under collapsed buildings during the systematic demolition of the former ghetto. A team of the SS wearing white coats and posing as medical workers also patrolled the ruins in order to locate and shoot the remaining Jews still hiding since the end of the ghetto uprising.

Liquidation

Gesiowka
Szare Szeregi resistance fighters posing with the liberated prisoners in Gęsiówka sub-camp of Warsaw in August 1944.

On July 20, 1943, SS-Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Koppe ordered the complex to be liquidated and dismantled. The majority of prisoners were either executed or transferred to other concentration camps, such as Dachau, Gross-Rosen and Ravensbrück. Between July 28 and July 31, four major railway transports left Warsaw, containing some 12,300 prisoners. Only a small group of several hundred inmates, mostly Jews from the other occupied countries, were left in Pawiak and Gęsiówka to dig up and burn the bodies buried under the blown-up buildings of the ghetto. The camp's documentation was burnt, and many of its structures and facilities were mined for demolition.

On August 5, 1944, during the first days of the Warsaw Uprising, an assault group of Armia Krajowa (AK)[3] stormed the Gęsiówka sub-camp using a captured German tank, setting free the remaining 360 men and women, before the AK were forced to withdraw. On August 21, after a failed insurgent attack on Pawiak, the Germans executed almost all (except seven) of the remaining inmates, and the prison was blown up.

Commandants

Communist prison camp

After the Soviet takeover of Warsaw in January 1945, the remnants of the camp were used as a POW camp and a place of detention of the "enemies of the people's power" political prisoners by the Soviet NKVD and then by the Polish MBP until 1954 (the last prisoners left in 1956). It was the second biggest prison after the Mokotów Prison.[4]

References

  1. ^ Jerzy Kochanowski (4 November 2009). "Śmierć w Warschau" [Death in Warschau]. Polityka.pl – Historia (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2013-09-25. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  2. ^ Werner Hilgemann. Atlas zur deutschen Zeitgeschichte 1918-1968. Zurich 1986
  3. ^ Timothy Snyder (8 September 2015). Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. Crown/Archetype. p. 275. ISBN 978-1-101-90346-9.
  4. ^ "IPN wydał książkę o obozie KL Warschau - Bankier.pl: LifeStyle". Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2019-05-04.

Sources

External links

Coordinates: 52°14′35″N 20°59′35″E / 52.242925°N 20.9930305556°E

Extermination camp

Nazi Germany built extermination camps (also called death camps or killing centers) during the Holocaust in World War II, to systematically murder millions of Jews. Others were murdered at the death camps as well, including Poles, Soviet POWs, and Roma. The victims of death camps were primarily killed by gassing, either in permanent installations constructed for this specific purpose, or by means of gas vans. Some Nazi camps, such as Auschwitz and Majdanek, served a dual purpose before the end of the war in 1945: extermination by poison gas, but also through extreme work under starvation conditions.The idea of mass extermination with the use of stationary facilities to which the victims were taken by train, was the result of earlier Nazi experimentation with chemically manufactured poison gas during the secretive Aktion T4 euthanasia programme against hospital patients with mental and physical disabilities. The technology was adapted, expanded, and applied in wartime to unsuspecting victims of many ethnic and national groups; the Jews were the primary target, accounting for over 90 percent of the extermination camp death toll. The genocide of the Jewish people of Europe was the Third Reich's "Final Solution to the Jewish question". It is now collectively known as the Holocaust, during which 11 million others were also murdered. Extermination camps were also set up by the fascist Ustaše regime of the Independent State of Croatia, a puppet state of Germany, which carried out genocide between 1941 and 1945 against Serbs, Jews, Roma and its Croat and Bosniak Muslim political opponents.

German camps in occupied Poland during World War II

The German camps in occupied Poland during World War II were built by the Nazis between 1939 and 1945 throughout the territory of the Polish Republic, both in the areas annexed in 1939, and in the General Government formed by Nazi Germany in the central part of the country (see map). After the 1941 German attack on the Soviet Union, a much greater system of camps was established, including the world's only industrial extermination camps constructed specifically to carry out the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question".

German-occupied Poland contained 457 camp complexes. Some of the major concentration and slave labour camps consisted of dozens of subsidiary camps scattered over a broad area. At the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, the number of subcamps was 97. Under Auschwitz I, Birkenau, and Auschwitz III (Monowitz) with thousands of prisoners each, the number of satellite camps was 48; their detailed descriptions are provided by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. Stutthof concentration camp had 40 subcamps officially and as many as 105 subcamps in operation, some as far as Elbląg, Bydgoszcz and Toruń, at a distance of 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the main camp. The camp system was one of the key instruments of terror, while at the same time providing necessary labour for the German war economy.

The camp system was one of the key instruments of terror, while at the same time providing necessary labour for the German war economy. Historians estimate that some 5 million Polish citizens (including Polish Jews) went through them. Impartial scientific research into prisoner statistics became possible only after the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1989, because in the preceding decades all inhabitants of the eastern half of the country annexed by the USSR in 1939 were described as citizens of the Soviet Union in the official communist statistics.

Gęsiówka

Gęsiówka (Polish pronunciation: [ɡɛ̃ˈɕufka]) is the colloquial Polish name for a prison that once existed on Gęsia ("Goose") Street in Warsaw, Poland, and which, under German occupation during World War II, became a Nazi concentration camp.

In 1945–56 the Gęsiówka served as a prison and labor camp, operated first by the Soviet NKVD, then by the Polish communist secret police.

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William of Paris (saint)

William Onslow, 6th Earl of Onslow

William Orlando Darby

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William Parr (footballer)

William P. Rogers

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William Penney, Baron Penney

William Perl

William Perry

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William Quash

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William R. Snodgrass

William Raborn

William Rehnquist

William Reid (VC)

William Remington (athlete)

William Rogers (rugby player)

William Rose (screenwriter)

William S. Mailliard

William S. Massey

William S. Morris

William S. Stone

William Salcer

William Saward

William Scranton

William Seagrove

William Seawell

William Shakespeare (football)

William Shepherd

William Sheridan Allen

William Sidney Smith

William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle

William Silkworth

William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim

William Staveley (Royal Navy officer)

William Steger

William Steinberg

William Sterling Parsons

William Joseph Stern

William Stewart Simkins

William Strang, 1st Baron Strang

William T Y'Blood

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William Tubman

William Usery, Jr.

William W. Momyer

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William Walter Kouts

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William Westmoreland

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William Winter (politician)

William Wolfe Wileman

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Williamis de Souza Silva

Willibald C. Bianchi

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Williston B. Palmer

Williston Municipal Airport

Willward Alexander Sandys-Clarke

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Wilm Hosenfeld

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Wilmeth Sidat-Singh

Wilson D. Watson

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Winchester Model 1897

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Windtalkers

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Winged Victory (play)

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Wingmen (The Boondocks)

Wings for This Man

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Wings Up

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Winning Your Wings

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Winston Churchill High School (Eugene, Oregon)

Winston Churchill High School (Lethbridge)

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Winston Churchill in politics: 1900-1939

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

Winston Churchill

Winter Haven's Gilbert Airport

Winter Line

Winter Offensive of 1947 in Northeast China

Winter War

Winterhilfswerk

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Wirbelwind

Wireless Experimental Centre

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Wirtschaftswunder

Wish Me Luck

Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams

Wissem Ben Yahia

Witalis Wieder

With the Marines at Tarawa

With the Old Breed

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Without Love

Witold Łokuciewski

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Wola massacre

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Wolfenstein 3D

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Karol Adwentowicz

Karol Adwentowicz (19 October 1871 – 19 July 1958) was a Polish actor and theater director. Adwentowicz fought in the Polish Legions in World War I, and upon the return of Poland's sovereignty, embarked on a hugely successful touring career across the country. During the Nazi occupation of Poland he was imprisoned in Pawiak, part of the Warsaw concentration camp. He died in Warsaw, two years after the Polish October.Adwentowicz directed plays and performed in several theaters both before and during the war, including at the Słowacki Theatre in Kraków in 1912 commissioned by Ludwik Solski. In the interwar Poland he ran the experimental Ateneum Theatre in Warsaw along with Stefan Jaracz (1933–34 season), but also founded the Teatr Kameralny in the city. Adwentowicz was one of the most recognized dramatic actors in contemporary Poland, particularly for his role as Hamlet.

List of military units in the Warsaw Uprising

This is a list of military units taking part in the Warsaw Uprising, a Polish insurrection during the Second World War that began on August 1, 1944.

Maria Trzcińska

Maria (Marianna) Trzcińska (died 22 December 2011 in Warsaw) was a Polish judge employed for over 30 years in the People's Republic of Poland at the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland (Główna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce) with the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). She investigated and researched the Nazi German World War II crimes in Poland. Trzcińska was the author of an historical monograph about the Warsaw concentration camp (KL Warschau) set up by the SS in occupied Poland, the only Nazi concentration camp ever built in a European capital.

Military history of the Warsaw Uprising

The Warsaw Uprising began with simultaneous coordinated attacks at 17:00 hours on August 1, 1944 (W-hour). The uprising was intended to last a few days until Soviet forces arrived; however, this never happened, and the Polish forces had to fight almost without any outside assistance. Initially the battle raged throughout most of Warsaw, but after a short time it became confined to districts in the West of the town. The key factor in the battle was the massive imbalance of weapons between the two sides. The German side was extremely well equipped whilst the Polish side had, initially, barely enough ammunition for a few days. The policy of one bullet, one German allowed the Polish fighters to sustain the uprising for many weeks at the cost of their own lives. Some areas fought for a full 63 days before an agreed capitulation took place. The losses on the Polish side amounted to 18,000 soldiers killed, 25,000 wounded and over 250,000 civilians killed; those on the German side amounted to over 17,000 soldiers killed and 9,000 wounded.

Although Stalingrad had already shown the level of danger which a city can pose to armies which fight within it and the importance of local support to armies, the Warsaw uprising was probably the first demonstration that in an urban terrain, a vastly under-equipped force supported by the civilian population can hold its own against far better equipped professional soldiers— though at the cost of vast sacrifices on the part of the city's residents.

Nicholas

Nicholas, Nickolas, Nikolas, Nikolaus or Nicolas is a male given name, derived from the Greek name Νικόλαος (Nikolaos), a compound of νίκη nikē 'victory' and λαός; laos 'people'. The name became popular through Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia, the inspiration for Santa Claus. The Greek word laos originates from the word root -las, as found in the word λα-τομεῑο la-tomeio meaning "stone" or "rock" (as in Greek Mythology, Deucalion and Pyrrha recreated the people after they had vanished in a catastrophic deluge, by throwing stones behind their shoulders while they kept marching on) and the name can be understood to mean victory of the people. The name Nikolaos (Νικόλαος) pre-existed the Bishop of Myra who became Saint Nicholas, by several centuries. The Athenian historian Thucydides mentions that in the second year of the Peloponnesian war (431 to 404 BC) between Sparta and Athens, the Spartans sent a delegation to the Persian king to ask for his help to fight the Athenians; Nikolaos was one of the delegates. The customary English version of spelling "Nicholas", using an "h", first came into use in the 12th century and has been firmly established since the Reformation, though "Nicolas" is occasionally used.

In the United States, Nicholas – and its variations – was the 17th most popular male name given to babies in 2006. Roughly 0.7151% of the baby boys born that year, or 15,414, were given that name. It is decreasing in popularity, from a high in 1997, when 27,248 males in the United States were given the name Nicholas. That year was the most popular year for Nicholas since 1880, when U.S. records were kept for given names.The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Anglican Churches celebrate Saint Nicholas every year on December 6, which is the name day for "Nicholas". In Greece, the name and its derivatives are especially popular in maritime regions, as St. Nicholas is considered the protector saint of seafarers.

Nikolaus Herbet

Nikolaus Herbet (20 March 1889 – date of death unknown) was a German SS officer and the second and last commandant of Warsaw concentration camp, during the period from September 1943 to July 1944. He was preceded in this function by Wilhelm Göcke.

Herbet was admitted into the SS in March 1927 (member number 2,394), and rose to the rank of SS-Untersturmführer by 1934. In the SS, he served only in an honorary capacity. After joining the NSDAP (Nazi Party member number 68,494) in early April 1927, he was employed mainly at a party publishing house in Dresden. Herbert reached the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer in 1938. After the beginning of World War II, he was first employed as a member of the Waffen-SS in Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in 1940. From September 1943 to July 1944, he was commandant of the Warsaw concentration camp.

Herbet was arrested together with the Schutzhaftlagerführer and the Lagerältester of Warsaw concentration camp in the wake of a corruption scandal in this concentration camp in the spring of 1944. They were accused by the prisoners of extortion of valuables. All three defendants were detained in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. But, Herbet was soon able to return to the concentration camp service.

Pabst Plan

The Pabst Plan (German: Neue deutsche Stadt Warschau, "New German city of Warsaw") was a Nazi German urban plan to reconstruct the city of Warsaw as a Nazi model city. Named after its creator Friedrich Pabst, the Nazis' "Chief Architect for Warsaw", the plan assumed that Warsaw, the historical capital of Poland and a city of 1.5 million inhabitants, would be completely destroyed and rebuilt as a small German town of not more than 130,000 inhabitants.

In modern historical works the term is used to denote any of the German World War II plans concerning the destruction and reconstruction of Warsaw. In particular the "Pabst Plan" refers to a plan prepared by Hubert Gross and Otto Nurnberger in 1940 and another plan, prepared by Pabst himself in 1942. Both plans envisioned the destruction of most of Warsaw with its historical monuments and residential areas. In its place a new model city was to be created as a seat for the German ruling class of the occupied Polish territories. It was to house a large Parteivolkshalle ("People's Party Hall") in place of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and serve as a major transportation hub.

After the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, the Germans decided to destroy the city in its entirety.

Pawiak prison

Pawiak (Polish pronunciation: [ˈpavjak]) was a prison built in 1835 in Warsaw, Congress Poland.

During the January 1863 Uprising, it served as a transfer camp for Poles sentenced by Imperial Russia to deportation to Siberia.

During the World War II German occupation of Poland, it became part of the Nazi concentration-death camp apparatus in Warsaw. In 1944 it was destroyed by the Germans.

Serbia Prison, Warsaw

Serbia was a prison for women, located in Warsaw at 26 Dzielnej Street adjacent to the Pawiak prison. It was built by the Russian occupiers of Poland.

Warsaw

Warsaw ( WAWR-saw; Polish: Warszawa [varˈʂava] (listen); see also other names) is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.780 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Once described as the "Paris of the North", Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world until World War II. Bombed at the start of the German invasion in 1939, the city withstood a siege for which it was later awarded Poland's highest military decoration for heroism, the Virtuti Militari. Deportations of the Jewish population to concentration camps led to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 and the destruction of the Ghetto after a month of combat. A general Warsaw Uprising between August and October 1944 led to even greater devastation and systematic razing by the Germans in advance of the Vistula–Oder Offensive. Warsaw gained the new title of Phoenix City because of its extensive history and complete reconstruction after World War II, which had left over 85% of its buildings in ruins.Warsaw is one of Europe's most dynamic metropolitan cities. In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world. In 2017 the city came 4th in the "Business-friendly" category and 8th in "Human capital and life style". It was also ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Central and Eastern Europe.

The city is a significant centre of research and development, Business process outsourcing, Information technology outsourcing, as well as of the Polish media industry. The Warsaw Stock Exchange is the largest and most important in Central and Eastern Europe. Frontex, the European Union agency for external border security as well as ODIHR, one of the principal institutions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have their headquarters in Warsaw. Together with Frankfurt, London and Paris, Warsaw is also one of the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers in the European Union.The city is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Warsaw, the Warsaw Polytechnic, the National Museum, the Great Theatre—National Opera, the largest of its kind in the world, and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art. The picturesque Old Town of Warsaw, which represents examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period, was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. Other main architectural attractions include the Castle Square with the Royal Castle and the iconic King Sigismund's Column, the Wilanów Palace, the Łazienki Palace, St. John's Cathedral, Main Market Square, palaces, churches and mansions all displaying a richness of colour and detail. Warsaw is positioning itself as Central and Eastern Europe’s chic cultural capital with thriving art and club scenes and serious restaurants, with around a quarter of the city's area occupied by parks.

Warsaw Ghetto

The Warsaw Ghetto (German: Warschauer Ghetto, officially Jüdischer Wohnbezirk in Warschau, "Jewish Residential District in Warsaw"; Polish: getto warszawskie) was the largest of all the Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established by the German authorities in November 1940; within the new General Government territory of German-occupied Poland. There were over 400,000 Jews imprisoned there, at an area of 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi), with an average of 9.2 persons per room, barely subsisting on meager food rations. From the Warsaw Ghetto, Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps and mass-killing centers. In the summer of 1942 at least 254,000 Ghetto residents were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp during Großaktion Warschau under the guise of "resettlement in the East" over the course of the summer. The ghetto was demolished by the Germans in May 1943 after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprisings which had temporarily halted the deportations. The total death toll among the Jewish inhabitants of the Ghetto is estimated to be at least 300,000 killed by bullet or gas, combined with 92,000 victims of rampant hunger and hunger-related diseases, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the casualties of the final destruction of the Ghetto.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (Yiddish: אױפֿשטאַנד אין װאַרשעװער געטאָ‎; Polish: powstanie w getcie warszawskim; German: Aufstand im Warschauer Ghetto) was the 1943 act of Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Poland during World War II to oppose Nazi Germany's final effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Majdanek and Treblinka concentration camps. After the Grossaktion Warsaw of summer 1942, in which more than a quarter of a million Jews were deported from the ghetto to Treblinka and murdered, the remaining Jews began to build bunkers and smuggle weapons and explosives into the ghetto. The left-wing Jewish Combat Organization (ŻOB) and right-wing Jewish Military Union (ŻZW) formed and began to train. A small resistance effort to another roundup in January 1943 was partially successful and spurred the Polish groups to support the Jews in earnest.

The uprising started on 19 April when the ghetto refused to surrender to the police commander SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop, who then ordered the burning of the ghetto, block by block, ending on 16 May. A total of 13,000 Jews died, about half of them burnt alive or suffocated. German casualties were probably less than 150, with Stroop reporting only 110 casualties [16 killed + 1 dead/93 wounded]. It was the largest single revolt by Jews during World War II. The Jews knew that the uprising was doomed and their survival was unlikely. Marek Edelman, the only surviving ŻOB commander, said that the motivation for fighting was "to pick the time and place of our deaths". According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the uprising was "one of the most significant occurrences in the history of the Jewish people".

Wilhelm Göcke

Wilhelm Göcke (12 February 1898, Schwelm, German Empire – 20 October 1944, Fontana Liri, Italy) was an SS-Standartenführer, SS-Obersturmbannführer der Reserve der Waffen-SS and a commandant of Warsaw concentration camp and the Kovno Ghetto.

Wilhelm Koppe

Karl Heinrich Wilhelm Koppe (15 June 1896 – 2 July 1975) was a German Nazi commander (Höhere SS und Polizeiführer (HSSPF), SS-Obergruppenführer). He was responsible for numerous atrocities against Poles and Jews in Reichsgau Wartheland and the General Government during the German occupation of Poland in World War II.

Wilhelm Ruppert

Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert (2 February 1905 – 29 May 1946). An SS trooper in charge of executions at Dachau concentration camp, he was, along with others, responsible for the executions of British SOE agents Noor Inayat Khan, Madeleine Damerment, Eliane Plewman and Yolande Beekman.

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