Ghettos in occupied Europe 1939-1944
Overview
During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

s in Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

-occupied Europe
were set up by the Third Reich in order to confine Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and sometimes Gypsies into tightly packed areas of the cities. In total, according to USHMM archives, "The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos in German-occupied and annexed Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 alone." Therefore, the examples are intended only to illustrate their scope and living conditions across Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

.
Encyclopedia
During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

s in Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

-occupied Europe
were set up by the Third Reich in order to confine Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and sometimes Gypsies into tightly packed areas of the cities. In total, according to USHMM archives, "The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos in German-occupied and annexed Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 alone." Therefore, the examples are intended only to illustrate their scope and living conditions across Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. Although the common usage in Holocaust literature is 'ghetto', the Nazis most often referred to these detention facilities in documents and signage as 'Jüdischer Wohnbezirk' or 'Wohngebiet der Juden' (German); both translate as Jewish Quarter
Jewish Quarter (diaspora)
In the Jewish Diaspora, a Jewish quarter is the area of a city traditionally inhabited by Jews. Jewish quarters, like the Jewish ghettos in Europe, were often the outgrowths of segregated ghettos instituted by the surrounding Christian authorities. A Yiddish term for a Jewish quarter or...

.

Soon after the 1939 Invasion of Poland, the German Nazis began to systematically move Polish Jews away from their homes and into designated areas of larger Polish cities and towns. The first ghetto at Piotrków Trybunalski
Piotrków Trybunalski
Piotrków Trybunalski is a city in central Poland with 80,738 inhabitants . It is situated in the Łódź Voivodeship , and previously was the capital of Piotrków Voivodeship...

 was established in October 1939, the one in Tuliszkow
Tuliszków
Tuliszków is a town in Turek County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland, with 3,406 inhabitants . It was also home to the first Jewish Ghetto established by Nazi Germany during the World War II. The walls for the ghetto were estimated to have been raised in December 1939, or January 1940....

 was established in December–January 1939–1940, followed by the first large scale ghetto, the Łódź Ghetto in April 1940, and the Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all Jewish Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established in the Polish capital between October and November 15, 1940, in the territory of General Government of the German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity...

 in October, with many other ghettos established throughout 1940 and 1941. Many Ghettos were walled off or enclosed with barbed wire. In the case of sealed ghettos, any Jew found leaving them was shot. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest ghetto in Nazi occupied Europe, with over 400,000 Jews crammed into an area 1.3 square miles (3.4 km²) large located in the heart of the city. The Łódź Ghetto was the second largest, holding about 160,000.

Types of ghettos and the living conditions

The situation in the ghettos was brutal. In Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, 30 percent of the population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

 was forced to live in 2.4 percent of the city's area, a density of 7.2 people per room. In the ghetto of Odrzywół, 700 people lived in an area previously occupied by five families, between 12 and 30 to each small room. The Jews were not allowed out of the ghetto, so they had to rely on smuggling and the starvation rations supplied by the Nazis: in Warsaw this was 253 calorie
Calorie
The calorie is a pre-SI metric unit of energy. It was first defined by Nicolas Clément in 1824 as a unit of heat, entering French and English dictionaries between 1841 and 1867. In most fields its use is archaic, having been replaced by the SI unit of energy, the joule...

s (1,060 kJ) per Jew, compared to 669 calories (2,800 kJ) per Pole and 2,613 calories (10,940 kJ) per German. With crowded living conditions, starvation
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

 diet
Diet (nutrition)
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. With the word diet, it is often implied the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management...

s, and little sanitation
Sanitation
Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. Hazards can be either physical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces, solid wastes, domestic...

 (in the Łódź Ghetto 95 percent of apartments had no sanitation, piped water or sewer
Sanitary sewer
A sanitary sewer is a separate underground carriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and commercial buildings to treatment or disposal. Sanitary sewers serving industrial areas also carry industrial wastewater...

s) hundreds of thousands of Jews died of disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

 and hunger.

There were three types of ghettos in existence. Closed or sealed ghettos were situated mostly in German-occupied Poland
Occupation of Poland
Occupation of Poland may refer to:* Partitions of Poland * The German Government General of Warsaw and the Austrian Military Government of Lublin during World War I* Occupation of Poland during World War II...

 and the occupied Soviet Union. They were surrounded with brick walls, fences or barbed wire stretched between posts. Jews were not allowed to live in any other areas under the threat of capital punishment, as announced by the German authorities. In the closed ghettos the living conditions were the worst. The quarters were extremely crowded and unsanitary. Starvation, chronic shortages of food, lack of heat in winter and inadequate municipal services led to frequent outbreaks of epidemics such as dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

 and typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 and to a high mortality rate. Most Nazi ghettos were of this particular type.

Open ghettos, which did not have walls or fences, existed mostly in initial stages of World War II in German-occupied Poland and the occupied Soviet Union, but also in Transnistria
Transnistria
Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine...

 province of Ukraine occupied and administrated by Romanian authorities. There were severe restrictions on entering and leaving them.

The destruction or extermination ghettos existed in the final stages of the Holocaust, for between two and six weeks only, in German-occupied Soviet Union especially in Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 and the Soviet Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, as well as in Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

. They were tightly sealed off. The Jewish population was imprisoned in them only to be deported or shot by the Germans often with the aid of their collaborationist forces.

Aryan side

In opposition to a Jewish Quarter, the parts of the city outside the walls were called "Aryan". For example in Warsaw, the city was divided into Jewish, Polish and German Quarters. The individuals living there had to have identification papers proving they were not Jewish (none of their grandfathers was a member of the Jewish community), i.e., baptist testimony. The baptist testimony certificates were forged on a mass scale by Catholic clergy in Poland.

Evacuation

In 1942, the Germans began their murderous Operation Reinhard
Operation Reinhard
Operation Reinhard was the code name given to the Nazi plan to murder Polish Jews in the General Government, and marked the most deadly phase of the Holocaust, the use of extermination camps...

, the systematic deportation
Deportation
Deportation means the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Today it often refers to the expulsion of foreign nationals whereas the expulsion of nationals is called banishment, exile, or penal transportation...

 of local people to extermination camps. The Nazi authorities deported Jews to the ghettos of the East from everywhere in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 during the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

, or most often directly to the extermination camps. Almost 300,000 people were deported from the Warsaw Ghetto alone to Treblinka over the course of 52 days. In some of the Ghettos the local resistance organizations started Ghetto uprising
Ghetto uprising
Ghetto uprisings were armed revolts by Jews and other groups incarcerated in ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europes during World War II against the plans to deport the inhabitants to concentration and extermination camps....

s. None were successful, and the Jewish populations of the ghettos were almost entirely killed.

See also

  • Ghetto
    Ghetto
    A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

  • Ghetto uprising
    Ghetto uprising
    Ghetto uprisings were armed revolts by Jews and other groups incarcerated in ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europes during World War II against the plans to deport the inhabitants to concentration and extermination camps....

  • Jewish ghettos in Europe
    Jewish ghettos in Europe
    Jewish ghettos in Europe existed because Jews were viewed as foreigners due to their non-Christian beliefs in a Renaissance Christian environment. As a result, Jews were placed under strict regulations throughout many European cities. The character of ghettos varied through times. In some cases,...

  • Judendienstordnung
  • Judenrat
    Judenrat
    Judenräte were administrative bodies during the Second World War that the Germans required Jews to form in the German occupied territory of Poland, and later in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union It is the overall term for the enforcement bodies established by the Nazi occupiers to...

  • List of Nazi-era ghettos

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK