The Warsaw Ghetto: Daily Report from the German Battle Diary
(April 20, 1943)
Warsaw, April 20, 1943
From: The SS and Police Leader ( SS- und Polizeifuehrer ) in the Warsaw District
Ref. No.: I ab/St/Gr-16 07-Journal No. 516/43 Secret
Re: Ghetto Operation
To: The High SS and Police Leader East, krakow
Progress of the Ghetto Aktion on April 19, 1943:
Closing of ghetto commenced at 03.00 hrs. At 06.00 hrs. the Waffen-SS was ordered to comb out the remainder of the ghetto at a strength of 16/850.*
As soon as the units had entered, strong concerted fire was directed at them by the Jews and bandits. The tank employed in this operation and the two SPW [heavy armored cars] were attacked with Molotov cocktails. The tank was twice set on fire. This attack with fire by the enemy caused the units employed to withdraw in the first stage. Losses in the first attack were 12 men (6 SS men, 6 Trawnicki men**). About 08.00 hrs. the units were sent in again under the command of the undersigned. Although there was again a counterattack, in lesser strength, this operation made it possible to comb out the blocks of buildings according to plan. We succeeded in causing the enemy to withdraw from the roofs and prepared elevated positions into the cellars, bunkers and sewers. Only about 200 Jews were caught during the combing-out operation. Immediately afterwards shock-troop units were directed to known bunkers with orders to pull out the occupants and destroy the bunkers. About 380 Jews were caught in this operation. It was discovered that the Jews were in the sewers. The sewers were completely flooded, to make it impossible to remain there. About 17.30 hrs. very strong resistance was met with from one block of buildings, including machine-gun fire. A special battle unit overcame the enemy, and penetrated into the buildings, but without capturing the enemy himself. The Jews and criminals resisted from base to base, and escaped at the last moment through garrets or subterranean passages. About 20.30 hrs. the external closure of the ghetto was reinforced....
* 16 officers, 850 men.
** The reference is to auxiliary police recruited from Ukrainians and men from the Baltic states.