On April 19, 1943, the Warsaw ghetto uprising began after German troops and police entered the ghetto to deport its surviving inhabitants. By May 16, 1943, the Germans had crushed the uprising and left the ghetto area in ruins. Surviving ghetto residents were deported to concentration camps or killing centers.
On August 1, 1944, the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK), a non-Communist underground resistance movement, initiated the Warsaw Uprising to liberate the city from the German occupation and reclaim Polish independence. The impetus for the military action was the ongoing retreat of the German forces from Poland, followed by the appearance of the Soviet Red Army along the east bank of the Vistula River. By October 2, 1944, the Germans had suppressed the uprising, deporting civilians to concentration and forced-labor camps and reducing Warsaw to ruins.
During the Holocaust, the creation of ghettos was a key step in the Nazi process of brutally separating, persecuting, and ultimately destroying Europe's Jews. Ghettos were often enclosed districts that isolated Jews from the non-Jewish population and from other Jewish communities. Living conditions were miserable.
Spiritual resistance during the Holocaust refers to attempts by individuals to maintain their humanity, personal integrity, dignity, and sense of civilization in the face of Nazi attempts to dehumanize and degrade them.
Under terrible living conditions in the ghettos and facing the constant threat of deportation, Jews sought to preserve their humanity and their culture through song and verse.
We would like to thank The Crown and Goodman Family and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.