Warsaw Ghetto Heroes

Nathan Rappaport Memorial to Heroes of Warsaw Ghetto

The date that the Nazis chose to destroy the Warsaw Ghetto was on Passover, April 19, 1943. The leader of the Jewish resistance movement, Mordechai Anielewicz, was determined not to give up without a fight. By this time, the Jews in the Ghetto knew that the daily trains to Treblinka were not transporting the Jews to resettlement camps in the East, but were taking them to a death camp to be killed in gas chambers. It was because the ghetto reisdents began refusing to get on the trains that the Nazis decided to liquidate the ghetto.

A gun crew of SS soldiers battles the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto

Ukrainian and Latvian SS soldiers marched into the ghetto on April 19, 1943, entering at the northern border of the Ghetto on Zamenhofa street. It was not until May 16 that the SS was able to defeat the handful of resistors, who lasted longer than the whole Polish army when the Germans and the Russians jointly invaded Poland in September 1939.

On April 19, 1988, the 45th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, a Memory Lane was marked out through the former Ghetto. The route starts at the corner of ul. Anielewicza and ul. Zamenhofa where a plaque tells you that this was the site of the former Ghetto. The buildings were severely damaged during the fighting, and the Ghetto was torn down. Jewish prisoners were sent to Warsaw from the Auschwitz death camp to clear the ruins of the Ghetto.

SS soldier stands in the ruins of the Ghetto

One of the stops on Memory Lane is the monument pictured at the top of this page, which honors the Jewish resistance fighters; it is the work of sculptor Nathan Rappaport and is sometimes referred to as the Nathan Rappaport Memorial. It is located on ul. Zamenhofa, the street where the fighting began in the Warsaw uprising.

In the photo at the top of this page, the front of the monument is shown. It depicts several of the resistance fighters with Anielewicz in the front holding a hand grenade in his hand. At the start of the fight, a few hand grenades were virtually the only weapons that the Jews had. After they killed a few SS soldiers and the others retreated, the resistance fighters took the weapons from the hands of the dead and continued the fight the next day when the Nazis returned.

The photo below shows the back side of the monument. It depicts a line of Jews marching to their death in a concentration camp. In the courtyard where this monument is located, and at many other places along the route of Memory Lane, are black marble stones like gravestones in a symbolic cemetery, honoring those who died in the ghetto and in the extermination camps.

Back side of Memorial to Heroes of Warsaw Ghetto

The photo below shows the statue called "Little Insurgent" in Warsaw. It depicts a little boy with a helmet that is too big for him, holding a machine gun. When Warsaw was attacked by German troops in World War II, the Polish children, both boys and girls aged 8 to 16, took it upon themselves to become little soldiers and to help defend the city. This photo was sent to us by one of our readers, who says that "It is very important because it shows that even children were willing to risk their lives to defend their country."

Statue of Little Insurgent in Warsaw

Mila 18

Ghetto Wall

Nozyk Synagogue

The Ghetto

Umschlagplatz

Ghetto Uprising

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This page was last updated on January 5, 2008