The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began #OnThisDay, April 19, 1943. It was the largest act of resistance carried out by the Jews during the Holocaust and became a symbol of heroism in the face of desperation and death. Early that morning, German forces entered the ghetto with motorcycles, tanks, cannons, and armored vehicles. Yet, the Jews had the element of surprise on their side, and for the first few days of the uprising, they managed – with their almost nonexistent arms and lack of training – to repel the mighty German army. After three days of fighting, the Germans understood they would be unable to make the Jews report for deportation as planned, so they began to systematically set fire to the ghetto, turning it into a giant firetrap. The Jewish combatants took refuge in bunkers from which they would launch attacks and raids on German units. Most of the Jewish fighters did not view their actions as an effective measure by which to save themselves, but rather as a battle for the honor of the Jewish people, and a protest against the world’s silence.

Contributor: Jill Goltzer