11. The Warsaw Ghetto 1940

On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), October 12th. 1940, the German regime informed the Jews in Warsaw that within a few weeks they were to move to a ghetto which would take in some of the poorest parts of the city. For weeks the Jews were unsure about the exact ghetto limits. This gave rise to bickering between ‘Poles’ and ‘Jews’, each trying to keep or to gain certain blocks of houses, factories, schools and churches or synagogues for their own community. On November 15th. the irregular shaped ghetto was closed, and normal access to the ‘Aryan’ area was forbidden. In late 1940 the ghetto officially held 380,740 inhabitants, forcing 30% of the Warsaw population into a fraction of the city’s area. In March 1941 another fifty thousand Jews arrived from the surrounding district.

Judging from the ghetto limits shown, this manuscript map dates from early November 1940. It was drawn on a secret city plan of Warsaw showing all the important economic and military properties. The map was either made for, or made by, SS-Sturmbannführer Max Jesuiter, chief of staff of the SS police in Warsaw. Jesuiter was jointly responsible for starvation and typhoid (in 1941 alone ten percent of the ghetto population died), for mass deportation to the Treblinka concentration camp in the summer of 1942, and for the crushing of the uprising of what remained of the ghetto in April and May 1943.

Jesuiter, M., Manuscript map of the Warsaw Ghetto, late 1940, on the confidential Militär-Geographischer Stadtplan Warschau, n.pl. 1940

Jesuiter, M., Manuscript map of the Warsaw Ghetto, late 1940, on the confidential Militär-Geographischer Stadtplan Warschau, n.pl. 1940