Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Nazis Execute 200 in Warsaw in Retaliation for Slaying of Gestapo Agent

February 20, 1940
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Highly reliable sources reported today the ruthless execution by the Nazi authorities in Warsaw of 200 Poles, 100 of them Christians and 100 Jews, in revenge for the slaying of a Nazi agent. The execution occurred on February 1.

Murder of the Nazi agent took place in a Polish workers’ quarter of the former capital, not far from the main Jewish cemetery. The victim was a Polish agent provacateur in the service of the Gestapo, Nazi secret police. The reason for and the circumstances behind the slaying are not known, but it is believed to have happened while the agent was carrying out some act of provocation among the Polish workers.

As soon as the murder was discovered, the Gestapo organized a pogrom in the Zytnia quarter of the section, which was cordoned off. Everyone in the street at the time, including women and children, was beaten up. Flats and shops were demolished.

Later it was officially announced that 100 Jews and 100 Christians had been shot in expiation of the murder. The 200 victims were rounded up at random in streets and homes and executed without trial. An official announcement warned the population that henceforth murder of an official would be punished by the execution of not less than 100 Jews and 100 non-Jews.

While, according to reliable reports, the morale of the Jewish masses in Warsaw is still unbroken, the Jewish population is enduring unspeakable sufferings inflicted by the Nazis with unexampled bravery. The Jewish professional classes, which constitute the more assimilated part of the Jewish population, is going through a state of deep despondency which is finding expression in an ever growing number of suicides. Among the latest suicides are the well known neurologist, Dr. Meisner, and the prominent industrialist, Wertheim.

The Nazis have recently taken to raiding the homes of Jewish social workers in Warsaw with the apparent aim of paralyzing the remnants of Jewish charitable activities. Among the many Jewish social workers arrested is Advocate Bransk, acting president of Centos, Jewish child welfare institution. Relatives of Bransk are concerned over his fate since all efforts to ascertain the place of his detention have thus far proved vain.

Latest reports from Lodz reveal that the law for compulsory labor has already been put into effect. Although the law clearly specified that only Jews between the ages of 14 and 65 are liable to forced labor, it is being applied in Lodz indiscriminately to all men and women from the age of 12 to 76. In some instances, entire Jewish families have been conscripted.

Recommended from JTA