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Liveblogging World War II: April 25, 1943

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Statement made by Josef Blösche following his arrest in 1969.

The Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto: I have looked at the given photocopy. Concerning the person in the SS uniform, standing in the foreground of a group of SS members and holding a sub-machine gun in firing position and wearing a steel helmet with motorcycle goggles, this is me.

The picture shows that I, as a member of the Gestapo office in the Warsaw Ghetto, together with a group of SS members, am driving a large number of Jewish citizens out from a house. The group of Jewish citizens is comprised predominantly of children, women and old people, driven out of a house through a gateway, with their arms raised.

The Jewish citizens were then led to the so-called Umschlagplatz, from which they were transported to the extermination camp Treblinka.

World War II Today:

For more analysis of the picture see Aktion Reinhard.

The unequal struggle between the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and the SS continued. Renewed attempts had been made by the Nazis to close down the ghetto on the 19th April. They intended to murder all the occupants, either immediately by shooting them or by sending them to the extermination ‘camp’ at Treblinka.

With very few weapons available to them the Jews had put up what resistance they could. Now they were being hunted down by SS troops who systematically worked through the ghetto, forcing people out of hiding or burning down the the buildings in which hid. The daily reports of SS-und Polizeifuehrer Stroop documented the actions of the Nazis:

Progress of the Action on April 25, 1943, Begun at 1:00 P.M.

Seven shock troops for thorough combing were formed for today, at a strength of 1/70, to which each was assigned a specific block of houses.

Mission: “Repeated thorough combing of all buildings, identification of bunkers and their blowing up, as well as capture of Jews. Where they meet any resistance or bunkers cannot be reached, the buildings are to be burnt to the ground.”

I>>n addition to the activity of these 7 shock troops for thorough combing, a special mission was undertaken against a bandit nest lying outside the former ghetto wall, which was inhabited only by Poles.

Today’s mission ended for almost all of the shock troops with the breaking out of giant fires which caused the Jews to leave their hiding places and refuges. In total, 1690 Jews were captured alive. According to stories from the Jews, there have definitely also been parachutists dropped here and bandits who have been supplied weapons from an unknown location. 274 Jews were shot, and as on other days, uncounted Jews were buried alive in the blown-up bunkers and, as near as can be determined, burned. With today’s bounty of Jews, a very large portion of the bandits and lowest elements of the Ghetto has, in my opinion, been captured. Immediate liquidation was not carried out due to the onset of darkness.

I will attempt to obtain a train for T II for tomorrow, otherwise the liquidations will be carried out tomorrow. Also today repeated armed resistance took place and in one bunker 3 pistols and explosive charges were captured. Further today, significant supplies of paper money, currency, gold coins and items of jewelry were secured. The Jews still control possessions of significant value. If last night the former ghetto was covered with the glare of fire, then today a giant sea of fire can be seen. Since the thorough combings, carried out in accordance with plans and the rules, revealed ever more Jews in large numbers, the Action will be continued on April 26, 1943. Start: 10:00 A.M.