The Warsaw Ghetto After the Great Deportation
The terrible events have engulfed me […] I have no words to express what has happened to us since the day the expulsion was ordered […] With one stroke of the pen the face of Warsaw was changed. They made an end to its peddlers; its beggars and paupers and dawn-and-outers were collected; its stores were closed; its streets were emptied. Everywhere there is the silence of the graveyard.Chaim Kaplan, The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan, p. 383, 390
After the conclusion of the Great Deportation some 60,000 grief stricken Jews, living in a number of enclaves, remained alive within the area of what had been the Warsaw Ghetto. They had lost parents, partners, children and friends who had been deported to Treblinka and murdered in the gas chambers. Knowing full well that the sword of Treblinka hung over their heads, these Jews came to the understanding that they could not rely on the Germans' promises that they would be sent to forced labor camps; they decided to disobey the orders of the German authorities, whatever these may be. Some considered the possibility of armed resistance and sought ways to bring about its realization. Others considered hiding to be the solution, while yet others sought to leave the ghetto and to find shelter on the Aryan side of the city. However, few had the necessary connections and financial means to leave the ghetto and successfully find shelter on the Aryan side. Thus, most of the Jews were forced to remain in the ghetto.
During the Great Deportation, a decision was taken to form the Jewish Fighting Organization [Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa, or ŻOB; Hebrew - Irgun Yehudi Lochem]. Sometime later, Mordechai Anielewicz, of the Hashomer Hatzair movement, was appointed to be the organization's commander. At the same time, another clandestine resistance movement was active in the ghetto, the Jewish Military Union [Żydowski Związek Wojskowy, ŻZW], founded by the Beitar movement, and commanded by Paweł Frenkel. Within weeks of their inception, these organizations were active within the ghetto; they began by carrying out retaliation operations against Jews who had actively collaborated in the deportation, and making clear to the remaining ghetto populace that the masses deported to Treblinka had been brutally murdered. Both organizations called upon those still left alive to prepare for an armed uprising in the near future.
9 October 1942
In the desolate ghetto one hears each night the howling of the last dog – a hoarse, choked bark. This orphaned cry of the last dog sends shivers down one's spine. While, at night, a man tosses in his sleep, the dog's cry echoes like the howl of a thousand desolations. The cry of an orphaned dog against the backdrop of an abandoned city. And what is even more terrifying? When the dog stops wailing for a moment, the ceaseless train whistles can be heard and they are no less intimidating. These are not trains bearing greetings from faraway, from the freedom of the open fields; they come, rather, from the fields of murder, from the slaughterhouse. The trains seem to howl their loneliness, even as the last dog in the ghetto is howling his.Peretz Opoczynski