The Liquidation of Warsaw Ghetto, 1942: An Indelible Event in Jewish History

A Tragic Day in Jewish History: July 22, 1942

July 22, 1942, marks a key date in Jewish history, initiating the infamous Warsaw Ghetto Liquidation by the Nazis. The Nazis, disguised as orchestrators of a resettlement plan in the East, deported approximately 250,000-265,000 Jews to the Treblinka Extermination Camp in a mere two months. Coinciding with Tisha B’Av that year, this event is solemnly remembered as one of the many calamities that have befallen the Jewish People.

The Unraveling of the Warsaw Ghetto Liquidation

On July 20, the SS announced the new policy to the Judenrat (Jewish council) without revealing the cruel reality of the deportations to Treblinka. This entailed the eventual displacement of all Jewish individuals in Warsaw, except for those serving the German authorities, the Judenrat, Jewish Police, or other roles supporting the Nazi regime.

By July 23rd, the actual purpose of the deportations had become known in the ghetto. Adam Czerniaków, head of the Warsaw Judenrat, tragically took his own life. Despite the despairing circumstances, he had managed to secure exemptions for several residents not previously exempted.

Resistance Grows Within the Ghetto

With the grim reality that Jews were being directly sent to gas chambers at Treblinka, the inhabitants began constructing bunkers for hiding. This eventually led to the formation of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB), marking the genesis of armed resistance within the ghetto. Amid the Warsaw Ghetto Liquidation, a staggering 5,000-7,000 people were deported daily, some swayed by the deceitful promises of ample food, better work, and improved living conditions. The Grossaktion (Great Action) led to the murder of 35,000 Jews within the ghetto, leaving only 60,000-70,000 Jews by the summer of 1943—a mere fraction of Warsaw’s original Jewish population.

We remember the Jewish community of Warsaw with deep reverence. May their memories be a blessing.


POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Yad Vashem
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum