What was unusual about the Warsaw uprising?
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the largest revolt of Jews during World War II. It was less than a thousand Jewish fighters of two underground groups, Jewish Combat Group and Jewish Military Union, against at least three times that many elite German troops. What makes it more impressive is that the two Jewish groups were lightly armed, mostly with improvised home made weapons. They had less than 70 fire arms of any kind, all stolen or smuggled. They were mostly armed with gas filled bottles and improvised explosive devices, sometimes even rocks, bats, and pipes. The German troops, by contrast, all had machine guns and rifles, mortars, artillery, armored vehicles, and high explosives.
Jewish groups also knew they had no chance of winning. They chose to go down fighting rather than accept death in extermination camps. Against all odds, the uprising lasted nearly four weeks. German troops had to resort to blowing up building after building to defeat them. Most Jewish fighters were killed by the explosions, fire, collapsing buildings burying them, or smoke inhalation. Amazingly, several hundred did survive and went on to fight in other battles.
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