report by SS Brigadefuhrer Jurgen Stroop dealing with the
destruction of the Warsaw ghetto. Stroop was sent to Warsaw to
remove the 56.000 surviving Jews from the ghetto, and he recorded
his deeds - daily killings with cold-blooded brutality - in a
boastful seventy-five-page report bound together in black pebble
leather and including copies of all daily communiqués sent to his
superior officer as well as photos with captions in Gothic script.
These are excerpts presented at The Nuremberg Trial:
resistance put up by the Jews and bandits could be broken only by
relentlessly using all our forces and energy by day and night. On 23
April 1943 the Reichsfuehrer SS issued through the Higher SS and
Police Fuehrer East at Cracow his order to complete the combing out
of the Warsaw Ghetto with the greatest severity and relentless
tenacity. I therefore decided to destroy the entire Jewish
residential area by setting every block on fire, including the
blocks of residential buildings near the armament works. One concern
after the other was systematically evacuated and subsequently
destroyed by fire. The Jews then emerged from their hiding places
and dugouts in almost every case.
Not infrequently, the Jews stayed in the burning buildings until,
because of the heat and the fear of being burned alive, they
preferred to jump down from the upper stories after having thrown
mattresses and other upholstered articles into the street from the
burning buildings. With their bones broken, they still tried to
crawl across the street into blocks ofbuildings which had not yet
been set on fire or were only partially in flames.
Often the Jews changed their hiding places during the night, by
moving into the ruins of burnt out buildings, taking refuge there
until they were found by our patrols. Their stay in the sewers also
ceased to be pleasant after the first week. Frequently from the
street, we could hear loud voices coming through the sewer shafts.
When the men of the Waffen SS, the Police or the Wehrmacht Engineers
courageously climbed down from the shafts to bring out the Jews and
not infrequently they then stumbled over Jews already dead, or were
shot at. It was always necessary to use smoke candles to drive out
Thus one day we opened 183 sewer entrance holes, and at a fixed time
lowered smoke candles into them, with the result that the bandits
fled from what they believed to be gas in the center of the former
Ghetto, where they could then be pulled out of the sewer holes
there. A great number of Jews who could not be counted were
exterminated by blowing up sewers and dugouts.
The longer the resistance lasted the tougher the men of the Waffen
SS, Police, and Wehrmacht became. They fulfilled their duty
indefatigably in faithful comradeship, and stood together as models
and examples of soldiers. Their duty hours often lasted from early
morning until late at night. At night search patrols with rags wound
round their feet remained at the heels of the Jews and gave them no
respite. Not infrequently they caught and killed Jews who used the
night hours for supplementing their stores from abandoned dugouts
and for contacting neighboring groups or exchanging news with them.
Considering that the greater part of the men of the Waffen SS had
only been trained for three to four weeks before being assigned to
this action, high credit should be given to the pluck, courage and
devotion to duty which they showed. It must be stated that the
Wehrmacht Engineers, too, executed the blowing up of dugouts, sewers
and concrete buildings with indefatigability and great devotion to
duty. Officers and men of the police, a large part of whom had
already been at the front, again excelled by their dashing spirit.
Only through the continuous and untiring work of all involved did we
succeed in catching a total of 56,065 Jews whose extermination can
be proved.To this should be added the number of Jews who lost their
lives in explosions or fires, but whose number could not be
At the beginning of his report Jurgen Stroop lists the losses of
'For the Fuehrer and their country the following fell in the battle
for the destruction of Jews and bandits in the former ghetto of
Warsaw .. (fifteen names are listed). Furthermore, the Polish police
sergeant Julian Zielinski, born 13 November 1891, 8th Commissariat,
fell on 19 April 1943 while fulfilling his duty. They gave their
utmost, their life. We shall never forget them.
The following were wounded .. (the names of 60 Waffen SS personnel
are listed), 11 watchmen from training camps, probably Lithuanians,
12 Security Police officers in SS units, 5 men of the Polish Police,
and 2 regular army personnel, engineers.'
Daily reports ..
'Our setting the block on fire achieved the result in the course of
the night that those Jews whom we had not been able to find despite
all our search operations left their hideouts under the roofs, in
the cellars, and elsewhere, and appeared on the outside of the
buildings, trying to escape the flames. Masses of them - entire
families - were already aflame and jumped from the windows or
endeavored to let themselves down by means of sheets tied together
or the like. Steps had been taken so that these Jews as well as the
remaining ones were liquidated at once.'
Daily reports ..
'When the blocks of buildings mentioned above were destroyed, 120
Jews were caught and numerous Jews were destroyed when they jumped
from the attics to the inner courtyards, trying to escape the
flames. Many more Jews perished in the flames or were destroyed when
the dugouts a sewer entrances were blown up.'
Daily repports ..
'Not until the blocks of buildings were well aflame and were out to
collapse did a further considerable number of Jews merge forced to
do so by the flames and the smoke. Time and again the Jews try to
escape even through burning buildings. Innumerable Jews whom we saw
on the roofsduring the conflagration perished in the flames. Others
emerged from the upper stories in the last possible moment and were
only able to escape death from the flames by jumping down. Today we
caught a total of 2,283 Jews, of whom 204 were shot, and innumerable
Jews were destroyed in dugouts and in the flames.'
Daily reports ..
'The Jews testify that they emerge at night to get fresh air, since
it is unbearable to stay permanently within the dugout owing to the
long duration of the operation. On the average the raiding parties
shoot 30 to 50 Jews each night. From the statements it was to be
inferred that a considerable number of Jews are still underground in
the Ghetto. Today we blew up a concrete building which we had not
been able to destroy by fire. In this operation we learned that the
blowing up of a building is a very lengthy process and takes an
enormous amount of explosives. The best and only method for
destroying the Jews therefore remains the setting of fires.'
On 24 May 1943 the final figures were compiled by SS Brigadefuhrer
'Of the total of 56,065 caught about 7,000 were destroyed in the
former Ghetto during large scale operation. 6,929 Jews were
destroyed by transporting them to T.II (Treblinka Camp No. 2). The
sum total of Jews destroyed is therefore 13,929. Beyond the number
of 56.065 an estimated number of 5 to 6,000 Jews were destroyed by
being blown up or by perishing in the flames.