Then October 12 1940, again Yom Kippur, a decree on setting up three housing districts - German, Polish and Jewish - makes the ghetto inevitable. On October 15 the German controlled Gazeta Zydowska and Nowy Kurier Warszawski publish this new plan (8). All Jews of Warsaw living outside this area have to move within a few weeks to the ghetto which takes in some of the poorest and most crowded parts of the city. I’m sure you recognize the plan (9). Its outlines are the same as in the Teachers Guide to the Holocaust. But how did it get there? I found the missing link: this map (10) in the Black Book of Polish Jewry from New York 1943. The newspaper map is indeed the first public map of a ghetto in Warsaw. And while families living elsewhere start feverishly to sell their property and look for some room inside this ghetto, the quarrel about its exact borders becomes very intense.
There remains however one question that is central in my work as a historian and map curator. When I study the history of maps I am as much interested in the ways how maps are used as in how they were made. But research on how maps shape history lags far behind the research in the history of cartography. So today, when I analyse maps of the Warsaw ghetto, my question is: to what extent are plans and maps instrumental to the organisation of terror and of resistance? Sources for dealing with this question are not abundant. Most of the official texts about changing plans and personal memoirs on how they were perceived and acted upon are cited in the Guide of Engelking and Leociak. Moreover, there are several original wartime maps that have survived. Most of these are in my private collection, of others I have scans in different qualities.
The Warsaw ghetto uprising: Armed Jews vs. Nazis - …
After 27 days of fighting, the Ghetto Uprising ended with the death or capture and consequent extermination of almost all of its inhabitants. It was also the final act in the complete destruction of the 350,000 Warsaw Jews. German losses were 16 dead and 85 wounded. Several dozen of the surviving fighters were able, with the help of the Polish underground, to escape the ghetto area and continue the fight. In 1944, some of them took part in the Warsaw Uprising.
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During World War 2, 85% of Warsaw's left bank buildings were destroyed: 25% in the course of the Warsaw Uprising, 35% as the result of systematic German actions after the Uprising, the rest as a combination of the war in September 1939 and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Area under Warsaw Ghetto poised to be named …
(7) In April 1940 a plan for two ghetto’s is put forward: one in the West covering the area of Wola and Kolo, the other in the East covering Grochów. It is assumed that ghetto’s on the outskirts cause minimal damage to the economy and communication. But when the Führer considers sending millions of European Jews after the war in the West to the French colony of Madagascar, the plan is postponed until August. By then the Department of Resettlement in Warsaw claims that relocating 600.000 people, Jews and Poles, will require at least four months. But creating a ghetto in the old Jewish district can be completed before the winter, when epidemics will spread. The decision to designate this area as a ghetto provokes new fears among Jews but also some hopes of postponing its realisation or at least avoid the worst: a sealed ghetto. Kaplan’s diary reads: It is hard to live in a time when you are not sure of tomorrow, and there is no greater torture than waiting. It is the torture of those condemned to die.
Uprising (TV Movie 2001) - IMDb
I have colored on the map from the Teachers Guide the large reductions in red and the few small extensions in yellow (13), just for the one month from the first public plan to the start of the ghetto. Even at the very last moment there is a new development. Nowy Kurier Warszawski for 16/17 November lists in detail the boundaries of the ghetto, specifying the streets and the numbers of the houses besides which the border runs. An innovation compared to the Jesuiter plan is the designation of a small enclave.