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1. Article from the magazine "WRN" published in Warsaw in the years 1940 to 1944 by the Polish So-socialist Party of Freedom - Equality - Independence

Attention to attempts of the enemy!

Loudspeakers and “reptile newspapers”, intended to mislead the Polish public opinion rage by Goebbels’ order to divert our attention from German crimes and direct it solely on the So-viets. Along with this increased anti-Semitic propaganda was intended to hide German crimes and paralyze the moral indignation and contempt for criminals, which grew among the Poles. These were forced to watch crimes of mass murder unprecedented in the history of humanity, directed against Jews: daily hunts for hiding individuals, who were murdered regardless of their age and sex, whenever these unfortunates were found.

We have recently read in the official notices issued by them the following "Poles should not have any moral dilemmas related to persecution of the Jews." Oh, how would the German want the Poles to show German lack of moral dilemmas! How they wish we absolved them in the eyes of the world by participating in the anti-Jewish bestiality. How important it is for them is demonstrated best by incidents of gathering street scum and staging attacks on Jewish population. Recently in Warsaw a group of convicts was taken to Leszno, who were being transported to Treblinka or some other place of execution. They were told to put their luggage on the street. While the mob gathered a handful were invited to divide the property of the convicts. There was a car standing nearby, filming the whole scene. This will be used as a visual "argument" that it was not Germans who murdered and looted in Poland. But it will not work! Despite all the German effort and energy, the attitude of Polish society is clear: no collaboration with the Germans! Mass murder of Jews led to organized Polish help for Jews, help that is very difficult, provided under threat of death, but nevertheless given to those who managed to escape from the hell of the ghetto.

However, Germans keep trying. Recently, one can observe once more a growing number of agents milling about at various gatherings, giving anti-Jewish propaganda speeches and sell-ing anti-Semitic publications. Therefore, be reminded that it is a duty of all conscious working people to strongly oppose this action of poisoning the souls of Poles and compromising our reputation. We remind the words of the Prime Minister of the Polish Government, General Sikorski, addressed to the country's population on 5th May in relation to the fighting in the Warsaw ghetto. "This shall be the greatest crime in human history. We know that you help the tormented Jews, as you can. Thank you countrymen on behalf of the government and myself. I ask that you provide them with any assistance and fight against this terrible atrocity". It is a statement of the Government, applicable to every Pole. Whoever acts against this indication, collaborates with the invaders. He shall be punished, if not immediately, then inevitably in the near future. By regulation of the Government those guilty of such actions are listed and sent to Special Courts where harsh punishment awaits them.

Source: Document No. 304, [W:] Jewish- German War. Polish underground press 1943 – 1944 of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the selection and development by Paweł Szapiro, London 1992, pp. 287 – 288.


The quoted excerpt comes from "WRN" magazine (number 11 (117) of 4 July 1943) pub-lished in Warsaw in the years 1940 to 1944 by the Polish Socialist Party Freedom - Equality - Independence.

Loudspeakers – German invaders already in autumn of 1939 confiscated radios from Polish people. In early August 1940 in Warsaw, Germans put up street megaphones for propaganda purposes called in Polish szczekaczki, by which twice a day news service in Polish was broad-cast. In May and July 1943, underground organizations broadcast their own programmes by loudspeakers.

”Reptile newspapers” - the press called in Polish gadzinowa or gadzinówka (an abusive term) published since the beginning of the occupation by the Germans for the Polish population in the General Government (GG). It was a tool of the German authorities used to shape the atti-tudes of Poles in line with their expectations. The primary function of the press was: building and maintaining the occupational system, informing about the power of the Third Reich, depreciating Polish allies. During the war in GG occupational authorities published about 50 magazines.

General Wladyslaw Sikorski (1881 - 1943) - Polish military and political leader, Lieutenant General of the Polish Army, Chief of the Polish Armed Forces. On 30 September 1939, ap-pointed by President Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz Prime Minister of the Polish Government. He died on July 4, 1943 in a plane that crashed just after taking off from a Gibraltar airport.

The regulation referred to in the text is the announcement of Directorate of Civil Resistance of 18 March 1943. The Directorate of Civil Resistance was established in April 1941 in the Headquarters of the Union for Armed Struggle – Home Army and since April 1942 it was subject to Government Delegation for Poland. The agency organised the civil fighting. It was headed by Stefan Korboński.


  1. What means of propaganda was used by the Germans to suppress the desire to continue resis-tance in the Poles?
  2. Why did Germans carry out anti-Semitic propaganda among the Poles?
  3. When did the anti-Semitic propaganda worsen?
  4. How did the Germans carry out anti-Semitic propaganda?
  5. What attitude towards the extermination of the Jews did the Polish government adopt in Lon-don under the leadership of General Wladyslaw Sikorski?

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Description and Analysis

  1. Germans in General Government published newspapers for the Polish population with the aim of shap the attitudes of Poles in accordance with their expectations. These newspapers were called "reptile". In addition, in the streets of Warsaw there were special street loudspeakers installed called "szczekaczki," by which Germans broadcast information ser-vices for the Polish population.
  2. Germans used anti-Semitic propaganda among Poles to distract their attention from Ger-man crimes committed against Jews, to discourage Poles helping the Jewish people and encourage them to take part in murdering the Jews.
  3. Anti-Semitic propaganda became more intensive after the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
  4. Germans staged Polish attacks on the Jewish population, which were filmed. The aim was to demonstrate that not only the Germans were committing crimes against the Jews. Moreover, after the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Germans increased the num-ber of agents giving anti-Jewish propaganda speeches and selling propaganda newspapers.
  5. The Polish Government in London, headed by General Wladyslaw Sikorski, condemned the German crimes against the Jewish population and appealed to the Poles to continue helping the Jews.

Geographical/Historical Context

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising broke out on 19 April 1943 at the time German troops entered the ghetto in order to liquidate it, which was part of Operation Reinhard (extermination of Polish Jews as “the final solution”). At the time of entry of the Germans into the ghetto there were 50 - 70 thousand Jews there. The uprising did not have military purposes. It was a desperate act of choosing dignified death with a gun in hand as well as retaliation against persecutors. In-surgent forces consisted of about 1,000 fighters of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB, led by Mordechai Anielewicz and Marek Edelman), and the Jewish Military Union (ZZW, commanded by Pawel Frenkel and Leon Rodal). The defenders of the ghetto from the first day received military support from outside provided by the Polish armed underground units, mainly the Home Army and People's Guard. Poles carried out several military actions around the ghetto against German troops. Many Poles also granted aid to civilians escaping from the ghetto by hiding them in apartments on the other side of the wall (such as Wladyslaw Szpil-man, whose memoirs later served as a basis for The Pianist movie). In the following weeks, the SS and police forces under the command of SS-Gruppenführer Jürgen Stroop bloodily suppressed the uprising and murdered most of the population (on site or in Treblinka extermi-nation camp.) The whole area of the Jewish quarter was burned and razed to the ground, and after completion of the liquidation in mid-May the Great Synagogue was blown up. Germans announced a crackdown on the insurgency on 16 May 1943, although sporadic fighting only ceased in June 1943.