German guard in front of the Warsaw Ghetto wall, Poland
The photograph shows a German guard in front of the Warsaw Ghetto wall in February 1943. In July and August 1942, approximately a quarter of a million of the Warsaw Ghetto’s Jews were deported to the Treblinka death camp. In January 1943, about one month before this photograph was taken, the Germans planned to carry out a second Aktion in the ghetto, and to send some 8,000 Jews to the death camps, but met with armed resistance from the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB). As a result, during this Aktion there was a marked difference in the Germans’ behavior. They stopped shouting, preferring to move in silence, and refrained from investigating possible hiding places. After 4 days, the Germans halted the Aktion before they had filled the deportation quota. This Aktion had always been intended to be only partial, but the Jews of the Ghetto saw the halt in proceedings as a sign of weakness on the part of the Germans, a retreat in the face of the force shown by the Jews. The events of January were very influential to the preparations for the uprising in April 1943.
Yad Vashem Photo Archives, 953