Warsaw started as a small fishing village on the banks of the Wisla
River. The first documented Jewish settlement in warsaw, dates back to
1414. Several dozens of Jewish families were granted a special permit
to settle down in the region and engage in commerce. With the years,
the small fishing village became a center for commerce and government.
The history of the town is interwoven with the Jewish history.
Despite decrees and pogroms against the Jews and despite the fact that
there were long periods during which Jews were prohibited from taking
up residence in Warsaw – the Jewish population expanded. By the end
the 19th century, 127,000 Jews lived in Warsaw. Jews counted for one
third of the city's population.
The population growth persisted at the beginning of the 20th century
as well. In spite of recurring scenes of anti-Semitism and decrees,
the Jews stood out in most spheres of life in the city: approximately
80 percent of the bankers, 70 percent of the craftsmen, two thirds of
the merchants and one third of the lawyers in Warsaw were Jewish.
Warsaw was the capital of world Jewry and Jewish culture.
370,000 Jews lived in Warsaw on September 1st 1939, the day the German
army invaded Poland. Almost all of them were trapped in the city,
bombed from the air, bombed from the ground and preparing themselves,
like millions of other Polish citizens, for the invasion of the German
for the rest go to;