November 15 1940 - Warsaw Ghetto Sealed

Selling wood in the Ghetto
The Jews of Warsaw and the surronding area were all sent to live in a small 3km squared area of Warsaw. A wall was built around it, and on November 15th the area that had become the Warsaw Ghetto was sealed. No one was allowed in and no one was allowed out. 400,000 Jews were captive in a small part of the city. Many would die from starvation and disease.


The Jewish population of Warsaw before the war was estimated at about 270,000. When the siege of Warsaw ended on September 29th the Germans occupied the city. The Jewish population had increased as refugees crowded into the city. Hitler established the General Government to administer occupied Poland on October 12, 1939. A few day before the Nazis had established a Jewish Council in Warsaw and appointed Adam Czerniakow to head it. Jews were first drafted to forced labor clearing the damage caused by the war. On November 20th all Jewish bank accounts holding more than 2,000 zl were block. On December 1, 1939 all Jews above 10 were required to wear the Jewish star. Ten days later they were forbidden to travel on public transit. On January 26, Jews were forbidden to gather to pray. On April 1, 1940 work began on a wall to enclose the Ghetto. The Nazis forced 138,000 ethnic Poles from the neighborhood and moved 138,000 from the suburbs of Warsaw into the neighborhood. Inside the ghettos whose size was 3 square kilometers were 400,000 people. On November 15th 1940 the ghetto was officially sealed from the outside world. Anyone trying to escape was shot on site. In the coming months many of the residents of the ghetto would die from hunger and disease.