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Transcript of Holocaust Ghettos
"In Warsaw I worked in a laundry for the Germans–they had a laundry in the camp–I worked in a street gang. And then one day they took five of us in a truck and we went on the other side of the river, there's a major river going through Warsaw, and they took us to a German army camp and we had to dig ditches."
-William Lowenberg: Survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto & Auschwitz
During World War II, ghettos were city districts (often enclosed) in which the Germans concentrated the municipal and sometimes regional Jewish population and forced them to live under miserable conditions.
Ghettos isolated Jews by separating Jewish communities from the non-Jewish population and from other Jewish communities. The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos.
The Germans worked all the time to make sure that they get all the Jews segregated and get all the Jews away where no one would have to deal with them.
In many places ghettoization didn't last that long. Some ghettos existed for only a few days, others for months or years. With the action of the "Final Solution" (the plan to murder all European Jews) beginning in late 1941, the Germans destroyed the ghettos.
The largest ghetto in Poland was the Warsaw ghetto, where more than 400,000 Jews were crowded into an area of 1.3 square miles.
Putting Jews in ghettos was not Hitler's idea. For centuries, Jews had faced persecution, and were often forced to live in designated areas called ghettos . The Nazis' ghettos differed, however, in that they were a preliminary step in the act of the Jews, rather than a method to just isolate them from the rest of society. As the war against the Jews progressed, the ghettos became transition areas, used as collection points for deportation to death camps and concentration camps.
On November 23, 1939 General Governor Hans Frank issued an ordinance that Jews ten years of age and older living in the General Government had to wear the Star of David on armbands or pinned to the chest or back. This made the identification of Jews easier when the Nazis began issuing orders establishing ghettos.
Larger cities had closed ghettos, with brick or stone walls, wooden fences, and barbed wire surrounding the boundaries. Guards were placed strategically at gateways and other boundary openings. Jews were not allowed to leave the so-called "Jewish residential districts," under penalty of death.
In total, the Nazis had 356 ghettos in Poland, the Soviet Union, the Baltic States, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Hungary between 1939 and 1945. There was no right to these ghettos. The ghettos in small towns were generally not sealed off, which was often a temporary measure used until the residents could be sent to bigger ghettos.
All ghettos had the most awful, disgusting living conditions. The smallest ghetto housed approximately 3,000 people. Warsaw, the largest ghetto, held 400,000 people. Lódz, the second largest, held about 160,000. .
Ghetto life was awful. The ghettos were filthy, with poor sanitation. Extreme overcrowding forced many people to share a room. Disease was spreading. Staying warm was difficult during bitter cold winters without adequate warm clothes and heating. Food was in such short supply that many slowly starved to death.
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works cited part 2
"Quotes." Holocaust Ghettos.Google Sites. Web. Nov. 2013. <https://sites.google.com/site/holocaustghettos2/artifact-4>
"The Ghettos." The Holocaust. Copyright. 2013. Web. Nov. 2013. <www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/holocaust/about/03/daily_life.asp>
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