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Life In The Jewish Ghetto Essays

Jewish Ghettos Essay

Jewish ghettos: The basic history of the formation of the Jewish ghettos, including the everyday life and economic hardships faced by the communities.

     By definition, a ghetto is an area, usually characterized by poverty and poor living conditions, which houses many people of a similar religion, race or nationality. They served to confine these groups of people and isolate them from the rest of the community because of political or social differences. However, the Jewish ghettos established throughout Europe were more than just a way for the Germans to isolate the Jewish community. They were the first step in making Hitler’s final solution possible. The ghettos were the means of organizing all of the Jews together and preparing them to be shipped to concentration camps. However, these ghettos soon evolved into political, religious and social entities that served the community and began to resemble a form of self-ruling government. Furthermore, many of these ghettos were different from one another because of different internal structures of the Jewish community or the diversity of the personalities of the leaders of the council in the Jewish community. However, the ghettos must be analyzed as if they are all “one history.”(Holocaust) In fact, many of the communities were the same with regards to Jewish perceptions and reactions concerning life and the difficulties being faced by each community in its occupied territory. This research paper discusses the common everyday trials and tribulations faced by all the ghettos and looks at the ghettos from a political and socio-economic point of view. (Holocaust)
     First, it is important to understand the history behind the ghettos and discuss their centralization in Poland. Hitler incorporated the western part of Poland into Germany according to race doctrine. He intended that Poles were to become the slaves of Germany and that the two million Jews therein were to be concentrated in ghettos in Poland's larger cities. Later this would simplify transport to the death camps. Nazi occupation authorities officially told the story that Jews were natural carriers of all types of diseases, especially typhus, and that it was necessary to isolate Jews from the Polish community. Jewish neighborhoods thus were transformed into prisons. The five major ghettos were located in Warsaw, Lódz, Kraków, Lublin, and Lvov (a history 170). (Holocaust, Holocaust time line)
In total, the Nazis established 356 ghettos in Poland, the Soviet Union, the Baltic States, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Hungary between 1939 and 1945. However, there was no real uniformity to these ghettos. The ghettos usually varied with respect to the size of the city in which they were located. The ghettos in small towns were generally not sealed off, which was often a temporary measure used until the Jewish occupants could be sent to a bigger ghetto. Larger cities had closed ghettos, with brick or...

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In September 1939 the Germans took control of Poland and Warsaw after a three week siege. There was no love lost between the Germans and the Poles and it soon became clear that the Nazis, considering themselves a 'Master Race', valued Polish life at next to nothing. As was later demonstrated, on an unprecedented scale, this was one step up from the value they put on Jewish life.

As early as November 1939 in Warsaw the first decrees intended to denigrate the Jewish people were issued by the Nazis - the most notable of which was that all Jews over the age of twelve years were forced to identify themselves by wearing a Star of David on their sleeve. These first measures were just the start of a long process however, and with more edicts issued every month it wasn't long before the Jews were reduced to the status of slaves and chattel. They were forbidden to work in either key industries or government institutions, to bake bread, to earn more than 500 zloty a month, to travel by train or trolley-bus, to leave the city limits without special permits, to possess gold or jewellery, plus all Jewish shops and enterprises had also to be marked with the Star of David. In addition to these official oppressions, Jews were summarily humiliated, beaten or even executed for little or spurious reason. In short they lived their lives in a state of constant fear.

Plans for a Jewish ghetto had in fact existed since the beginning of the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, but in October 1940 they finally began to take form. A small district South West of the Old Town, in the centre of the city, was chosen and 113,000 Poles were evacuated to make way for Warsaw's 400,000 Jews. Thirty percent of the city's population were now living in an area that constituted less than three square miles, or 2.4 % of the capital. In November that area was closed off by a formidable wall, topped with barbed wire.

Life in the ghetto started off tough and quickly got worse. At first some semblance of normal life presided: cafes were still open, newspapers published (newspapers from 'the outside' were forbidden), school lessons took place and people strived to continual a normal existence as best as they could. Those who had managed to hold on to any of their wealth in particular were able to live in a small degree of comfort. Smuggling food into the ghetto was common, either by bribing guards at the gates, or carrying it in via underground canals - whilst poorer people would send their children over to the 'Aryan side' to steal what they could. The official food ration of around 200 calories a day per person was less than 10 percent of the ration for Germans (and about 25% of the ration for Poles).

As more and more Jews were brought in from the neighbouring towns and villages, conditions became yet more cramped. Money for bribes was drying out (and was only ever the privilege of a few) and the poor people of the ghetto, skeletal and wretched, began starving en masse. In addition to death by starvation a typhoid epic, caused by the poor sanitary conditions, broke out; meaning that by April 1941 the mortality rate in the ghetto was a staggering six thousand people per month. Funeral carts would come and collect the bodies every morning, between 4-5am; mostly the corpses were dumped naked on the streets - the families were forced to strip their relatives in order to sell the clothes.

Whilst the Jews in the ghetto were dying, they weren't dying quickly enough as far as Berlin was concerned. Hitler's original plans to ship all European Jews to Africa were proved impractical, and so it was that the chilling 'Final Solution' was decided upon, early in 1942. Between July and September of that year 300,000 ghetto Jews were transported to the Treblinka Extermination Camp, in the Nazis first mass deportation effort. At first few believed, including the Jews themselves, that the rumours of these death camps were real - preferring to believe that they being sent to hard labour camps. Eventually the evidence that was fed back (by escapees from the camps and by various secret agents and journalists) became irrefutable. The 60,000 remaining occupants of the ghetto had no choice but to confront the awful truth.

When the Nazis prepared to organise a second deportation to Treblinka in 1943 the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began.

* Several survivors of the ghetto are still alive today. And out of respect to all the internees of the ghetto, we kindly ask that reviewers write only essential comments. Thank you.

This article on the Warsaw Ghetto is meant to be an informative introduction to Warsaw's history for travellers, and is not meant to be used for academic research. Please do not use it for any academic papers, but instead refer to published academic works and textbooks.*

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collin hart

United States

This was awful & pathetic

ReplyJan 25th, 2017
Xavier cuevas

United States

w2 was crazy

ReplyDec 14th, 2016
Irene Nielsen

United States

Did you have any contact or knowledge of the work done by Irena Sendler? Beyond the book Life in a Jar, can you share important experiences of rescue? Thank you. Gratefully, Irene

ReplyApr 16th, 2015
stanley userbot

New Zealand

this was very handy helped a lot

ReplyJul 31st, 2013

United States

ths helped for my 500 ward report a lot

ReplyApr 9th, 2013
Paola Oporto

United States

What in trying to find is how some eventually saved themselves and how they fought agsints the gremans

ReplyApr 5th, 2013
tammy tambe

United States

this site help alot with my paper!! thanks:)

ReplyMar 27th, 2013
Michael W.

United Kingdom

I believe the daily diet limit in the Warsaw Ghetto was set at only 184 calories per day, by the Nazis. Accuracy helps us to recognize evil again; like the upcoming 20% cut in the overall spending on Disability Living Allowance, (DLA), benefits in the UK, its like the Nazi's T4 program all over again!

ReplyMar 11th, 2013
Zachary Brown

United States

Great thank you for the info

ReplyMar 8th, 2013
Keeryanda uracil

United States

i Think it really sucked and it smells like egg salad!!

ReplyMar 5th, 2013
Hannah Miller

United States

This is a very good article! Thanks so much, it helped me a lot with the ten page report i have to do on this topic!!!

ReplyFeb 26th, 2013
Hailey Willis

United States

This helped me A LOT with my school powerpoint! Great job to who ever wrote it! :)

ReplyJan 17th, 2013
Freddie McDonald


Although there is basically nothing left of the Warsaw Ghetto wall,you can still sense the horror in that place,especially at such places as Ul Próżna and the sites of Pawiak prison and the Umschlagplatz Monument at ul.Stawki.

ReplyNov 16th, 2012
Rhiannon Haworth

United Kingdom

While the article was good, and it provided lots of useful information. However you did not mention the author of the picture, it's date or where the picture was taken.

ReplyOct 2nd, 2012
Reece Washington

United Kingdom

very detailed, homework completed!! ;)

ReplyMay 15th, 2012
Noah Smith

United Kingdom

I used this article as research for my school essay. Really helped, thanks a lot.

ReplyMay 15th, 2012
gracie angel

United States

very helpful/sad info here.

ReplyMay 8th, 2012

Load more comments (50)

Very useful for my school project. Thanks!!!

ReplyMar 12th, 2018

its just unfair what they are doing to the Jews

ReplyFeb 2nd, 2018

It is old but it is beautiful, and its colors they are fine It was worn at Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne. My father wore it as a youth in bygone days of yore, And on the 12th I love to wear the sash my father wore.

ReplyOct 9th, 2017

Ewan and Chris come straight to my office before break!

ReplySep 19th, 2017

loved it

ReplyJun 21st, 2017

Helpful a lot. Thank you.

ReplyJun 19th, 2017

Very helpful, thank you.

ReplyMay 30th, 2017

it was awesome

ReplyMay 3rd, 2017

great useful evidence

ReplyFeb 27th, 2017


ReplyFeb 22nd, 2017

Paul shut up

ReplyJan 27th, 2017

Good very helpful

ReplyJan 27th, 2017

Really very helpful! Thank you!!!!

ReplyJan 18th, 2017

Helped with my research on wasrsawa ghetto ✌️

ReplyJan 10th, 2017

helped me on my religious homework thx

ReplyDec 6th, 2016

Thank you for sharing this.

ReplyNov 8th, 2016

Very great for my school project. Thank you a lot!

ReplySep 26th, 2016

Very helpful

ReplyJun 8th, 2016

thank you so much really helped me on my school work. i might be German but i would never do any of these things and i just hate what my ancestors did. but thank you for creating this website website creator.

ReplyMay 16th, 2016

where/when did they get their food rations?

ReplyApr 24th, 2016

Da best, tots amaze, it was GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD, really helped me. The best article thingy EVER!!!!!!!!

ReplyApr 21st, 2016

Good it helped me

ReplyApr 21st, 2016

it helped me on my research project

ReplyMay 3rd, 2017

it was a good review paper I made about warsaw ghetto because of all this great information

ReplyApr 12th, 2016

Really good info for my report and a great insight on what actually happened in the Warsaw ghettos

ReplyMar 31st, 2016

very helpful

ReplyMar 19th, 2016

very helpful for me to find quotes for my journal, that is for school.

ReplyMar 17th, 2016

This helped me with my paper for class as well. Interesting facts about the horrible things the Nazis did.

ReplyFeb 19th, 2016

This helped alot for the paper I am doing for a class. I hate the horrible things the Nazis did to the Jews. It makes me sick to my stomach

ReplyFeb 1st, 2016

It helped me a lot.

ReplyJan 28th, 2016

good for a essay that I am writing

ReplyDec 7th, 2015

Just another article referencing the fact that most of the people who experienced this, whether they lived or died, had no political motives and had to pay the ultimate price for the narrow-minded whims of those in power. Until we eliminate borders and boundaries and restrictions caused by intolerance of different kinds of people we can never ensure ourselves that history would not repeat itself.

ReplyOct 3rd, 2015

This helped me with my history HW, thanks.

ReplyJun 3rd, 2015

An incredibly handy website that is really educational but throws a new perspective on life in the ghetto. Thank you!

ReplyMay 31st, 2015

Work on spelling please :)

ReplyApr 14th, 2015

This helped me on my English project as well. Thanks

ReplyApr 8th, 2015

This helped me on my literature assignment, thanks.

ReplyApr 1st, 2015

This just makes me sick to the stomache and just curl in a ball and cry for all the people who went through this. The information of this article helped me understand more about World War II so thank you.

ReplyFeb 13th, 2015

The " Final Solution " should have been the " First Solution "

ReplyJan 30th, 2015

A Derrin, you are a horrible human being please do not leave comments like this again

ReplyJul 22nd, 2015

This article helped me with my history assignment, thanks a lot.

ReplyJan 24th, 2015

wow thanks helped me a lot now i can finish my paper:)

ReplyNov 21st, 2014

Decent article, it provided a good deal of information.

ReplyNov 18th, 2014

I love this article! It has helped me a lot with my history assignment. Thanks to whowever wrote it

ReplyJun 2nd, 2014

This was not helpful!! I found no info that related to how warsaw was like back then.

ReplyApr 28th, 2014

this was not helpful i found no info that related to how warsaw was like back then.

ReplyJan 30th, 2014


ReplyJan 20th, 2014

That is so terrible what they did

ReplyNov 8th, 2013

Wow! This has so much information! This has really helped with my humanities assignment! Thanks a lot!

ReplySep 18th, 2013

this is good info thank you

ReplyMay 21st, 2013

So helpful, thankyou so much, had a massive essay to do as well! :))))

ReplyApr 30th, 2013

this is a good article

ReplyApr 11th, 2013

Great information!

ReplyApr 10th, 2013

As stated before, accuracy helps, 184 calories and not 200 calories for rations. Despite this, it is very informative, and it's free information, of course people are using it for academic research!

ReplyApr 9th, 2013

Extremely helpful

ReplyApr 7th, 2013

This is tots a 10 it helped me a lot with my research paper thank you so much to who ever wrote this your amazing trust me best site for the warsaw ghetto especially when you have to write 5,000 word research essay!!!!!

ReplyMar 14th, 2013

Really helpful summary! Thankyou!!!!

ReplyMar 14th, 2013


ReplyFeb 28th, 2013

i will do it for school work if i want

ReplyFeb 20th, 2013

it was bad but good

ReplyFeb 20th, 2013

this article was fantastic and has very good information! I am working on a project for school and this gave me lost of information! Since I have to do a 3 page paper!

ReplyFeb 19th, 2013

it was a good article thingy and im working on a project for school and it helped

ReplyFeb 13th, 2013

may all the nazis souls burn for eternity

ReplyFeb 14th, 2013

it is really bad i cant believe they did that

ReplyJan 25th, 2013

Why do you say you rather we not use it for research? What makes it unsuitable for research?

ReplyJan 21st, 2013

it was very goooooood!

ReplyJan 18th, 2013

that was so awful and stupid

ReplyJan 17th, 2013

thanks for the help with my homework

ReplyJan 16th, 2013

lots of intresting facts

ReplyDec 29th, 2012

da best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ReplyDec 1st, 2012

Great help.Very useful and reliable information!

ReplyNov 30th, 2012

Sounds alot like the gaza ghetto the Zionist created and seem to like

ReplyNov 24th, 2012

couldnt find the mortality rate

ReplyNov 24th, 2012

very sad it helped with my school project

ReplyOct 29th, 2012

it is very sad and it never should never have happened this helped with my school project

ReplyOct 11th, 2012

we should never forget these atrocities

ReplyOct 4th, 2012

good review nothing about the jobs Jews had to do!!!

ReplyOct 1st, 2012

it is so sad it made me cry

ReplySep 12th, 2012

R.I.P to the people who lost their lives verry sad:(

ReplyJun 15th, 2012

really horrible what happend it shouled have not happend, and thanks this has really helped me with my homework :)

ReplyJun 15th, 2012

really good! im doing a report on Warsaw ghetto and this really helped!

ReplyApr 30th, 2012

its very very sad on what happened to the Jews. they did not deserve it at all :(

ReplyApr 25th, 2012

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