The Warsaw Uprising

On any given day you can look back into the scope of human history and find the events that marked that particular date and what made them significant enough to impact the fabric of our time.

January 18th, 1943- a small group of Jewish men

decided to react against hatred.

The Warsaw ghetto was the largest in all of Poland. It housed well over 400,000 Jews in conditions that were deplorable. Starvation, typhoid fever and random killing sprees by the Nazi’s were just a few of the hazards to residing in Warsaw’s ghetto. Throughout the year of 1942 thousands upon thousands were deported to Treblinka, a large extermination camp. Within the year… over 300,000 were exported by the masses to their deaths.

But there was a remnant… shipping of Jews from Warsaw had ceased for a time. From the fall of 1942 to the winter of 1943 there was a significant decrease in the deportation of Jews to Treblinka. But the ones that remained lived on a shallow breath, knowing that at any time it could resume.

January 18th, the Nazi troops began organizing… more Jews were to be sent to the death camp. But… within the shallow breathing remnant, there came a realization that led to action. No longer would they be treated as animals, no longer would they be treated as unpersons, there was a realization that they still possessed humanity, despite how they had been dispersed, disregarded and degraded.

On a preplanned signal, a small group of men turned on those who had kept them prisoner. There, in the ghetto they had come to know as home- they started an uprising.

Although in the short scope of things, the uprising at Warsaw did not turn out in the Jews favor- it did start a liberation. There has been movie after movie made about the Warsaw ghetto and the uprising that happened there. The utter darkness that the evil of men had cast throughout Nazi-occupied Poland was not enough to destroy a people who suffered as the target of that evil. The liberation and understanding of their humanity gave rise to a renewed hope that there was light at the end of it all. That one day there wouldn’t be any more destruction and death.

And here we are… almost 70 years later, most of the survivors are gone now…only a few remain.  The Nazi’s who tortured, burned, destroyed and killed this people group have been brought under the strong arm of justice. Why not take just a moment to remember those who died simply because of who they were born as. But…I am not Jewish and logistically most of you are not either. So, why should it matter to us?

The same reasons rape, murder, abuse, hatred, racism and all other forms of violence should matter to us. When we see things like this that mar our history, it doesn’t matter if we are or would have been included in that particular population. It matters because it isn’t a white or black issue, it’s not a male or female issue, it’s not an intelligence and handicap issue…


It’s a human issue.


“We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.

We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers

from Prague, Paris and Amsterdam,

and because we are only made of fabric and leather

and not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the hellfire.”


The Holocaust

The Warsaw Ghetto

Movies about the Warsaw Ghetto and Treblinka:

The Pianist



Jakob the Liar



Filed under Human Interest

4 responses to “The Warsaw Uprising

  1. A great reminder of the God-given dignity of the human spirit–even amongst such resounding hatred.

    While the Jews are historically one of the most persecuted groups of human history, they exemplify the continued burden that characterizes so many groups.

    When I think of the struggle that women around the world face– from sexual violence and trafficking, to being denied basic human rights in some cultures–the realities are truly appalling.

    Uprisings will always have to continue, as long as the human soul endures such unspeakable evils. How ironic that even the slightest glimmers of hope burn brilliantly among the dim gray of ashes.

  2. Fantastic entry. ❤
    I read about this last semester while I was doing a paper about the Blood Libels. What a liberation.

    I'm glad your blog touches on issues like this too. 🙂

  3. MommaDuck

    “We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses. We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers from Prague, Paris and Amsterdam, and because we are only made of fabric and leather and not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the hellfire.”
    This statement and picture says so much. Cocooned in our everyday routine we forget the stuggles many others face. We live in denial that this could happen here in America. We need to remember to stuggles that gave us this freedom we adore and remember those who don’t have the gifts of freedom.

  4. A great reminder for us all in your postings and writings.

    First off, your list, made me tired and laugh because I am an active 74 year old! –who is as busy now as when I ran my company.

    As an old codger now, I lived, studied, worked, and served in Germany from 1958 to 1965. I went to Dachau three times, and later I took my wife back to show her what I leaned. So, the topic is still raw in my psyche. And, with my German friends it’s a taboo subject.

    Most people’s eyes laze over when I bring the subject up; however, last year on Newsvine I did a “Holocaust” piece and it met with some favor.

    Since I am new to Word Press and had decided to close my account when I returned this January, only to see the “Post a Day 2011,” challenge, I then thought I would give it a try. But, so far I am whistling in the wind here.

    I must complement you on organizing your home page. I can’t seem to figure out how to implement the bells and whistles.

    If you are still curious about me, I am pretty much an open book with my past, writings, and my views, if you type in Charlie Courtois in Google or Yahoo search engines.

    On Newsvine it’s here:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s