The first detailed, eye-witness account of the uprising by the remnants of the Warsaw ghetto against the German extermination squads that came to conduct them to execution centers between Warsaw and Bialystok, was received here today by the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee from underground groups in Poland.
From the highest buildings in the ghetto, the embattled Jews flew the flags of Poland, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, the report reveals. Bands of Jewish insurgents stormed the infamous Paviak prison and released scores of political prisoners. Fierce battles broke out in the ruined Nalevki district and on Muranov Square when the Germans threw artillery, tanks and bombers against the Jews.
Meanwhile, Polish guerrillas struck the German troops from the rear and fighting raged on Lange Street adjoining the ghetto gates. These same partisan groups had previously engineered an attempt to assassinate Governor Fisher several days after he had issued his first order for the liquidation of the ghetto and succeeded in killing police chiefs Kersky and Reszhinsky who had supervised the deportation of the Jews from the ghetto.
The reports state that the revolt which broke out in the ghetto on April 18 was the culmination of similar uprisings which have raged sporadically in Warsaw since last December, when Jews who were being rounded up for deportation attacked the Nazi guards with axes and spades. Again in January mass demonstrations took place in the ghetto streets as starving Jews demanded food, which had been denied them completely as punishment for the December uprising.
On March 17, for the first time since the establishment of the ghetto, German troops sent into the Jewish quarter by Warsaw Governor Fisher were greeted with volleys from rifles. Jews firing from behind hastily erected street barricades, killed 50 Germans before they were crushed. It was following this revolt that Governor Fisher ordered that “the ghetto be completely destroyed.” On April 18, picked S.S. detachments broke into the ghetto and were met by machine gun fire and hand grenades, supplied to the Jews by members of the “National Guards,” the Polish underground army. (It is not known whether the battle in the ghetto still continues.)
According to today’s report, armed revolts have also broken out in the Bialystok ghetto. It also discloses that partisan groups in the Lublin area, recently held up a detachment of Jews who were being taken to Krasnistav to be shot, killed the Nazi guards and enabled hundreds of Jews to flee.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.