by Jürgen Stroop — The Stroop Report is the official German
account of the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto from April to May
1943, prepared by the Commanding Officer of the operation, SS-Brigade
Leader Jürgen Stroop.
up into three sections—an executive summary, copies of the official
day-to-day combat reports, and a photographic record, the report contains
a number of fascinating insights into the brief and brutal conflict:
1. The Warsaw Ghetto contained a large number of factories
in which the Jews worked—and many of these factories were vital
to the German war effort.
2. The decision to relocate these factories—and their workers—to
Lublin (and the Majdanek concentration camp) was opposed by the Jews
in Warsaw, and served as the spark for physical resistance to the
3. The Jewish residential area was up to that time fully under the
control of the elected Jewish Council, and the German forces only
intervened in Ghetto affairs when German interests were affected.
4. The Jewish Council had its own police force, complete with armbands
and military-style caps, with which it maintained law and order within
the Ghetto walls.
5. Under instruction from this Jewish Council, the Jews working in
the armaments factories in the Ghetto started building a series of
interconnected underground bunkers in 1942. They told the Germans
they were constructing air-raid shelters.
6. Two previous German attempts to relocate the Jews of Warsaw had
succeeded in emptying the Ghetto of more than two-thirds of its inhabitants.
7. The ferocity of the Jewish resistance initially caught the German
forces unaware, and the head of the SS in Warsaw was replaced after
the first day by Heinrich Himmler, who ordered Stroop in to suppress
8. Stroop’s first course of action was to close down all the
armaments factories within the Ghetto which had been supplying the
Jewish forces with weapons and explosives. The extent of the Jewish
autonomy within the Ghetto was revealed when Stroop discovered that
some of the factory buildings had even been fortified with concrete
to become nearly impenetrable forts.
9. Once the factories were closed down, and relocated to the greater
Lublin area along with their workers, Stroop’s forces started
combing the Ghetto block by block, looking for bunkers and engaging
in ongoing street guerrilla warfare until the last Jewish resistance
centers were uncovered and broken.
10. The Germans were actively supported in this operation by SS-Auxiliaries
recruited from former Russian Army soldiers (the “Trawniki Men”)
who were drawn from Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. The Stroop Report
also describes these forces as “Askaris.”
11. In addition, the action to remove the Jews from Warsaw was actively
supported by the majority of the local Polish population. Polish police
took an active part in the “large-scale action” and also
suffered casualties from combat with the Jewish resistance.
12. Polish police also actively helped apprehend Jews who had escaped
the Ghetto fighting, and eagerly availed themselves of an offer by
Stroop to take one-third of whatever money or riches the apprehended
13. Throughout the report, Stroop repeatedly refers to the Polish
parts of Warsaw as the “Aryan” sections of town—indicating
what can only be an official change in German policy regarding the
racial make-up of Poland.
14. The approximately 42,000 Jews captured alive in the Ghetto fighting
were transported by train to the Treblinka concentration camp. From
the Stroop Report, it is clear that the majority of Jews from Warsaw
were ultimately moved to Lublin, where the Ghetto factories had been
edition contains the original German pages alongside full English
translations, and also contains all 70 original photographs, many
of which are published here for the first time ever.