These are excerpts of the Stroop Report that was presented at the Nuremberg Trial:
'The 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 the Jews.
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 ascertained.'
Louis Bülow ©2005-07