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Warsaw Rising: The Forgotten Soldiers of World War II
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Jump to navigation. On the eve of Passover, April 19, , Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto staged a now legendary revolt against their Nazi oppressors. The deprivation and despair of life in the ghetto and the dramatic uprising and bravery of its inhabitants have captured the American cultural imagination and influenced generations of social and political activists. In her new book, The Warsaw Ghetto in American Art and Culture , Samantha Baskind, a professor of art history at Cleveland State University, assesses how the Warsaw Ghetto and its story have intrigued Americans, Jews and non-Jews alike, and how the events of April, have been remembered in fine art, film, television, radio, theater, fiction, poetry, and comics. At the same time, though, the festering ghetto — aside from the uprising — serves as a crucial example of the unfathomable squalor and desperation experienced by Jews during the Holocaust, as depicted by cultural producers from to the current time.
Throughout their imprisonment in the ghettos, Jews had found ways to defy and resist Nazi conquerors: they organized mutual aid societies, they continued to practice their religion and educate their children, and they made heroic efforts to document their lives see reading, Voices from the Warsaw Ghetto in Chapter 8. In more than ghettos, Jews formed underground movements with the goal of escaping the ghetto, joining partisan armed resistance groups, or organizing a revolt.
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All communication with the outside world was cut off; radios were confiscated, telephone lines were cut and mail was heavily censored. Jews were forbidden to leave the ghetto and anyone caught outside its confines was executed. Living conditions inside were horrific. Individuals received rations of less than calories per day, leaving many on the verge of starvation. Denied access to their previous jobs, unemployment was rampant, with smuggling goods from non-ghetto parts of Warsaw one of the only means of employment.
Even these two aspects deserve a closer look—but, more importantly, they are hardly the entire story. The fate of Warsaw is a case in point. The capital city alone suffered more casualties at least , dead, most of them Jewish than any of the Western allies France, with , dead, comes closest. Of those, some , men, women and children were killed over just 63 days—the duration of the Warsaw uprising of The story was largely unknown to the West, at least until the U.
Ranging from military histories of Stalingrad to a book of recipes from the Terezin concentration camp, the sheer amount of reading material on World War II is overwhelming. Here are the 10 most essential books focusing on various aspects of the war in Poland, organized by something like chronology: invasion, ghettos, Auschwitz, war's end. No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, — , by Norman Davies Davies, the author of the two-volume definitive history of Poland , God's Playground , turns his attention here to the war's Eastern front, which he argues is underplayed by most histories of the war. Seeking to give the Soviets as well as the Nazis their fair share of blame, he argues that the common term "Hitler's war" for the invasion is misleading, letting Stalin—whose war crimes are perhaps still underestimated—off the hook. Davies's Rising ' The Battle for Warsaw is also indispensable.