The city of Warsaw is the capital of Poland. Before World War II, Warsaw was the center of Jewish life and culture in Poland. Warsaw's prewar Jewish population of more than 350,000 constituted about 30 percent of the city's total population. The Warsaw Jewish community was the largest in both Poland and Europe, and was the second largest in the world, behind that of New York City. The Germans occupied Warsaw on September 29, 1939. In October 1940, the Germans ordered the establishment of a ghetto in Warsaw. All Jewish residents were ordered into the designated area, which was sealed off from the rest of the city in November 1940. The ghetto was enclosed by a wall that was over 10 feet high, topped with barbed wire, and closely guarded to prevent movement between the ghetto and the rest of Warsaw.
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