HISTORY & GOVERNMENT
“The Pianist” Film Facts
By Sarah Lane
May 23, 2004, 08:35 PST
– World War II began on September 1, 1939. Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was one of the first targets of the German Luftwaffe.
– There were 3.5 million Jews living in Poland. A third of the total Jewish population (360,000) lived in Warsaw.
– By December 1, 1939, all Jews were ordered to wear the Star of David armband.
– The Jewish District in Warsaw was sealed off on November 15, 1940, with a half million people inside. 100,000 of them died shortly thereafter.
– By 1942, of those remaining, 300,000 were deported to Treblinka extermination camp.
– By this time, there were 40,000 Jews left in the district. 200 of them armed themselves and an insurrection led by Mordechai Anielewicz occurred on April 19, 1943.
– A month long battle ensued. The Germans suffered severe casualties until troops under the command of Gruppenfuehrer Jurgen Stroop used tanks and artillery to put down the revolt.
– Most of Anielewicz’s group committed suicide. A few escaped. All others were executed immediately or sent to gas chambers.
– The Warsaw Ghetto was leveled when the Germans retreated in January of 1945.
– Total annihilation or “The Final Solution” was their fate at the hands of the Nazis.
– There were only 20 Jews left alive in the city.