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The Fate of Polish Jews During the Shoah
Deportations don't come close to telling the whole story
The emphasis on deportations to death camps, particularly from western Europe and particularly to Auschwitz, overshadows the benighted experience of Jews in Polish ghettos. Yet the number of Jews incarcerated in the ghettos of Warsaw and Lodz in 1940–1 exceeds the combined Jewish populations in France, Belgium and the Netherlands at the same time. More Jews died in Warsaw than were deported from France to the killing sites of eastern Europe. More Jews were shot within walking distance of their homes in Kiev on 29–30 September 1941 than were forced to endure the horrendous five-day journey in box-cars from transit camps in Belgium to death camps in Poland. Yet one of the most typical Holocaust memorials is a freight car mounted on a segment of rail track.