Jews had settled in Warsaw as early as the 14th century. Before the 2nd World War, Warsaw was the largest and most important Jewish center in Europe. Nearly 400,000 Jews made up 1/3 of the total population of Warsaw. In October 1939 the German’s enacted anti-Jewish measures. One year later , on Yom Kippur 1940 the Nazis announced the building of Jewish residential quarters. 30% of the city’s population were to be confined to an area comprising of 2.4% of city land. The population of the ghetto at its height reached more than 500000.
The first deportations began in January 1943 to Treblinka. On April 19 1943, in anticipation of a third wave of deportations, the Warsaw ghetto uprising began. It took almost a whole month to liquidate the ghetto but by June 1943 Warsaw was empty of its Jewish population. Warsaw was liberated in January 1945 and less than 5000 Jews were found alive in the city.