JF Ptak Science Books Post 1294
"There will be a dawn."--Dorothy Thompson, 1943
"The former Jewish quarter in Warsaw is no longer in existence”--Jurgen Stroop, liquidator of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Dorothy Thompson got that one wrong--or so at least got the "dawn" wrong when it comes to the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. There wouldn't be a dawn, there, mainly because there would be hardly any Jews, or Warsaw. [This battle 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 ZOB) 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”.]
This small pamphlet was written by Reca stone in 1944 on the Jewish counter-attack against the Nazis in the ghetto of Warsaw. It is one of not-many that documented not only the resistance in Warsaw, but also of the wholesale liquidation going on in that city and in the concentration camps. in general. (Again, this was written in 1944. )
There weren't many accounts like this, but there were enough, certainly enough to have made a difference, I think, in how the leaders of the war effort approached whether concentration camps existed or not. Franklin Roosevelt had exactly one meeting on this topic (which I wrote about here), while many others decided that the idea of exterminating all of European Jewry was so enormously bad and so gigantic that it could not possibly be true.
Felix Frankfurter famously replied to a first-hand report on the extermination from the great Jan Karski that he just couldn't "beieve" Karski's story--not because the Supreme Court Justice (and Jew) thought Karski wasn't telling the truth, just that the story itself was unbelievable. And whether people thought that the stories were the truth but unbelievable (like Frankfurter) , or whether they thought they to be exaggerations, or whether they thought it was impossible, the responses and the subsequent actions mostly seem to have come to the same end of nothingness. Even after years of reports of extermination and brutalities and millions of people missing (as FDR was warned of in that 1942 meeting), the actual eyewitness accounts of the concentration camps were still received as being unbelievable.
This is one of the reasons why General Eisenhower--when viewing the concentration camp at Ohrduf in April 1945 with Generals Patton and Bradley--suggested that world leaders and other high-rankers come to the camps to bear witness so that future generations would know that such a thing actually existed. And so we come to the Reca Stone pamphlet. There are many other accounts of course of the uprising, and many of those are available on-line--but the Stone account, which is a rare thing in itself (only seven libraries worldwide having a copy of the work) is not on-line, but it is now. I think that it is a significant report, and it should have a wide audience--things like this should reach as large a readership as is possible.
An example of Stone's reporting, coming from Underground sources and the Polish Jewish Reporter, on the number of Jews "removed" from the Ghetto of Warsaw between July 22 1942 and September 21, 1942--254,954 over a period of about three months:
But Stone gives no sentiment to the idea of Jews "perishing". On page 20 she describes the death camp Treblinka, and how thousands and thousands of Jews met their death in the gas chambers, or by suffocation and scalding, or by execution, or by live burial.
She writes boldly: In this manner 250,000 Jews were transported from the Warsaw Ghetto...and in this manner tjhey met their death". Period. No euphemism here.
She also quotes Washington sources that "two million" Jews had "perished" (the Federal term, not Stone's), and that "five millions were imminently threatened with death". She pretty much got everything correct, as unbelievable as it sounded, then. Or now.
The original pamphlet is available for purchase here.
The full test, below--all of the images are expandable: