After the Nazis liquidated the ghetto in September 1942, the Jewish Fighting Organization, or ZOB, was formed. Led by Mordechai Anielewicz, this group of 600 Jews prepared to revolt against the Nazis. They did this by promoting active resistance, training fighters, collecting weapons and donations, carefully eliminating spies and informers, and maintaining contact with the Polish Underground.
On January 18, 1943, the first signs of armed resistance occurred. The SS and Gestapo, along with Ukrainian and Latvian forces, surrounded the ghetto. The ZOB had been planning an attack on the Jewish Police for the 22nd, but when Nazi forces came on the 18th, the Resistance engaged them in open combat. The fighters killed 20 Germans and wounded 50. This battle forced the Nazis to retreat. They would not attack again until April 19, 1943.
Pros of the First Fight
The show of force and determination by the ZOB impressed the Polish Underground, so they pledged their support to the Resistance.
Because the Nazis would not attack again until April, it allowed the ZOB time to plan, gather weapons, and gain control of the ghetto. They were also able to build bunkers for people who were not fighting.
Cons of the First Fight
Fighting the Nazis in open combat cost the Resistance many lives, because the Nazis were more experienced fighters. After that battle, the ZOB resorted to guerrilla warfare.
On April 19, 1943, the SS and Gestapo arrived to make Warsaw Judenrien (Jew free) for Hitler's birthday. They came with approximately 2,700 fighters, policemen, and security forces as well as 24,000 troops in the surrounding areas. The Nazis were armed with tanks, armored trucks, weaponry and endless ammunition. Against these well prepared, well-nourished forces were 1000 men from the ZOB and the Yiddisher Militerisher Farband (Jewish Military Alliance). They were poorly armed, less experienced, yet ready to fight to the end. Their arsenal contained grenades, Molotov cocktails, bombs, pistols, rifles, and mines. They even wore German uniforms as a decoy. The Resistance held out for roughly one month, which was longer then the Nazis took to defeat France.