JF Ptak Science Books
How Warsaw Fell. 1944. 8 pp. 11x8 inches. Very good condition. WorldCat/OCLC locates 8 copies (including three in the U.S. and five overseas). $250
This is bound to be a great smoothing-out of a complex issue, but, well, that’s okay: I think that in spite of the simplification the result is the same. The bottom line of the Second Warsaw Uprising (August/September 1944) is that the Soviet Union allowed the Polish Home Army to fail, watching from its position across the Vistula as the Nazis and Poles slugged it out, both exhausting themselves, the Nazis ultimately defeating the Poles, eliminating most of the Soviet concern for the Polish military and government, allowing the Soviet Union to take the country over more completely when the time came a few months earlier. It was the Soviet’s choice to see two enemies annihilate themselves to have more control over Poland and immediately turn it into a vassal state when it rolled into Warsaw in January, with 85% of the city destroyed and 600,000 of the city’s population dead.
With this in mind, where was the Polish Home Army or the Americans or the Brits-or anyone--when the first Warsaw Uprising occurred? Absent.1 This battle–generally known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising–took place about three years after the Nazis established it as a means of control for the city’s 400,000 or so Jews. In the intermediary years hundreds of thousands of Jews had been “deported” (that is, sent to the concentration camps to be exterminated or worked to death), so that by the time of the Uprising only 60,000 people remained in the Ghetto. And by this time there was no doubt in anyone’s mind who lived there (and perhaps too in Warsaw as a whole) what the euphemism of “deportation” actually meant. The battle started off well for the home defence (the ZOB2) but, ultimately, with little access to resource and with nowhere to actually retreat or regroup in the few acres that remained of the original Ghetto, whoever was left in the Ghetto were either killed or captured by 16 May. The German commander, SS Brigadefuhrer Jurgen Stroop reported on that day that “the former Jewish quarter in Warsaw is no longer in existence”:
“Progress of large-scale operation on 16 May 1943, start 1000 hours.
“ 180 Jews, bandits, and subhumans were destroyed. The former Jewish quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence. The large-scale action was terminated at 2015 hours by blowing up the Warsaw Synagogue.
Total number of Jews dealt with 56,065, including both Jews caught and Jews whose extermination can be proved. “
Stroop was arrested and hanged in Poland, in Warsaw, in 1952.
So, this 6-page pamphlet, published by Liberty Publications in London at the end of 1944 (and received by the Library of Congress on 10 January 1945), detailed the misery of the non-recognition of the second Warsaw Uprising and the reason(s) for it. It details the travesty, the disinterest, and the political accomplishment of the Soviet Union gained by its criminal inaction. There is of course no mention whatsoever of the first Warsaw Uprising. Selfish inaction breeds itself, consumes others and then--like yeast--consumes itself.
1. "WHEN THE revolt in the ghetto broke out in April 1943, all of Warsaw was aware of the fighting. The news of the revolt was transmitted to the Allied capitals by the Polish underground, but no help came for the Jewish fighters - not from the US or England, nor from the Soviet Union; not even a sign of recognition or an acknowledgement by the Allies of the battle raging in the ghetto. The Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto were unknown soldiers, isolated from the world. Only two years later, after the end of the war, did their valiant battle receive universal recognition."--"Who Defended The Warsaw Ghetto?", by Moshe Arens, in the Jerusalem Post, 29 April, 2003.
2. The ZOB was the Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, led by Mordechai Anielewicz, and ZZW (Zidowski Zwiazek Woskowy) led by Pawel Frenkel.