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How People Survived The Jewish Ghetto in WWII

World War II and the holocaust serve as terrifying reminders of how ethnic persecution and totalitarian regimes can lead to some of the worst atrocities humans are capable of.

Each theatre of the war and each city occupied present their own collection of horrors, heroes, and stories that we should strive to remember and learn from. It is from learning these lessons and using them that we can best honor those who lost their lives.

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One of the most terrifying and inspiring accounts from this era is the story of the Jews and their survival and resistance under the Nazis. From the Warsaw ghetto to the forests of Eastern Europe, stories abound of hope and defiance against all conceivable odds.

But before the famous uprisings or terrifying removals to the camps, thousands of Jewish survivors in the ghettos struggled through harsh winters and hostile forces to survive in a dense urban environment.

We can learn a lot by looking at how. We are going to focus on their struggle for food, sanitation, and warmth. By doing so, we may better understand the realities of urban survival in the worst possible scenarios.

We will also briefly touch on the resistance – which can be informative for various urban self-defense scenarios.


Life and Surviving in the Jewish Ghettos

Life and Survival in the Jewish Ghettos

As World War II raged, the Germans began to construct over a thousand ghettos that were separated from their surrounding city by walls, guards, and barbed wire. The size of each ghetto varied, but they all suffered from horrendous conditions that progressively worsened over time. Poor clothing, starvation, and death from the elements were common.

On average, over 3 people (up to 8 in some places) occupied each livable room with less than 50 square feet per person. In the Warsaw ghetto, the Jewish population was around 30% of the city but they were limited to an area of around 2.4% of the total municipal area.

The Germans installed local Jewish councils to collect taxes and to manage the labor teams for the German factories. The stories and nuances involved in the politics of these councils would require a whole post in itself.

Suffice to say, they were a council of the local Jewish leaders responsible for keeping order in the Ghetto—they had varying degrees of success and autonomy depending on the ghetto you are examining.

Jewish Women in Occupied Lublin

Since most residents had been forcibly moved to the area with minimal belongings, they were subjected to mass cases of instant poverty and great social disadvantage. Only a small percentage of the ghetto population had any form of regular work. Street trading became common and almost anything could become an item of exchange.

Most of life struggled to continue with children attending illegal schools and making toys out of scrap material, such as turning the tops of empty cigarette boxes into playing cards.

Warsaw Ghetto Market

Between October 1940 and July 1942, around 92,000 Jewish residents of the Warsaw ghetto died of diseases, cold, or starvation. These deaths accounted for nearly 20% of the entire pre-war population.

Let’s look closer at their struggles for food, sanitation, and warmth. Then we’ll briefly glance at the resistance and subsequent urban combat. Most of this information is coming from Refuse to go Quietly: Jewish Survival Tactics During the Holocaust written by John D. Caraveo and Public Health in the Vilna Ghetto as a Form of Jewish Resistance by John D. Caraveo at East Tennessee State University.

Getting Food

The Jewish Ghettos also provide a grim reminder of the desperate need for food in an environment where growing food is impossible and leaving the urban area for extended periods is too dangerous.

While the Nazis promised some rations, in most cases they were purposely starvation rations. In many ghettos, a Jewish inhabitant was only allotted 300 calories of food per day. Obviously, this is not enough to live, let alone work on.

Many without the means to trade for food starved. Hundreds and thousands starved. The families that didn’t starve were the ones able to perform some trade or service in exchange for food. The food came from smugglers who would make dangerous runs into the local territory. Without the ability to farm, these smuggling runs to trade or steal became one of the only sources of food.

One diarist, Chaim A, Kaplan, who perished in the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, recorded:

Smuggling was carried out through all the holes and cracks in the walls, through connecting tunnels in the cellars of buildings on the border, and through all the hidden places unfamiliar to the conqueror’s foreign eyes … trolleys make no stops inside the ghetto, but that’s not a handicap. The smuggled sack is thrown out at an appointed spot and caught by trustworthy hands. This is the way they smuggled in pork fat, in particular, which the religious leaders have permitted us to use in the time of destruction.”

The smuggling would also extend to winter clothes, medicine, and eventually, weapons.

Warsaw Ghetto Smuggling Food

In the Vilna Ghetto, they were more industrious than most. The Vilna ghetto had a large population of pre-war doctors and a strong central community keeping the people together. They were able to manufacture vitamins to supplement their food with waste and by-products from the local brewery.

Amongst what they produced was Vitamins B1, D, and iodine. Calcium and phosphorus preparations “ghetto phosphatin” were made from the horse bones. This community saw much better results than those that lacked the same level of organization and forethought.

The Lesson Here About Food and Nutrition:

The lessons to take away here are that you need to stock up on food and have a method with which to barter for more. You never know how long after SHTF you will need to be entirely self-sustaining.

You should also have a plan for creating, offering, or collecting something that you can barter for more food. Tools out of scrap metal, mechanical repairs, medical services, etc. Lastly, it should be noted that even things you may consider ‘waste’ can be used to supplement your nutrition.

Learn to make your own vitamins, learn to reuse the things you use on a daily basis too. Learn to use the whole buffalo, so to speak; all that is available to you in your survival environment. It may not seem appetizing, but you need to be able to operate at full strength to make the best of your situation.

This also shows that if you can produce food, you may have an incredibly valuable commodity to trade. It is possible to raise animals for food in the city, as well as forage.

Maintaining Sanitation

In the dense environments where water, food, shelter, and medicine were scarce, the sanitation was horrendous. In places like the Vilna ghetto, they were able to enact strict sanitation laws where residents were made to cut their hair and their clothes on a regular basis.

The rampant diseases in a population that dense meant that sanitation was the only thing preventing them all from becoming sick and perishing. Areas where residents failed to maintain some semblance of sanitary conditions were ravaged by disease.

Few areas had access to clean water and electricity. This made cleaning yourself and washing your clothes with hot water near impossible. This led to the creation of “tea houses” like in traditional Chinese cities. In these places, some people were dedicated to providing hot water and washing clothes for a nominal fee or trade. Steam from one of these facilities was even used to heat some other communal rooms.

Warsaw Ghetto – Transfer of Dead

Another issue was waste disposal. Bodies and other forms of waste began to pile up. Some communities made a deal with the local farms so that the farms would use this waste as manure and cattle feed. In January of 1943 alone it is said that 518 wagon loads of waste were removed from the Vilna ghetto.

As a side note: They didn’t have the same type of garbage we do today, and this problem will likely be much worse for us due to the inorganic and plastic nature of our modern waste.

The Lesson Here About Sanitation:

This is something often overlooked by urban survivalists but is your greatest tool against a killer you will likely face: disease. Have a plan for having hot water and for disposing of your waste. You can’t rely on an organized community doing it for you like in these cases.

This isn’t my specialty, but there is a lot of information out there about how to live a low waste lifestyle and how to recycle most things you use. Though this is currently more an arena of environmentalists and conservationists, these methods can be absolutely necessary for survival when the SHTF. You should also learn to upcycle.

Surviving the Winter

During the winters, maintaining heat was a constant struggle and cold became the greatest killer in the ghetto. The winter of 1942 was severe and the Nazis decided to use it at the Drohobycz ghetto as an extermination method. The food rations were cut even smaller and no coal was provided to heat the homes. In the following days, many found what they could from inside their homes to destroy and set on fire.

Eventually, even all the wooden fences had been used for kindling. Clothing was another issue as well. Exchanging clothes for food became a balancing issue for many. Starvation versus freezing to death was a decision many were forced to make. Thousands died from exposure to the cold.

The Lesson Here About Winter:

Have a plan to stay warm. You will eventually run out of things in your area to burn so have a more sustainable plan. We have a wide array of other articles detailing ways of staying warm and even one on building a solar-powered furnace.

Also, ensure you have enough food so you aren’t forced to trade away your warm clothes in order to eat. Obviously, some environments are more prone to this issue than others. I’m sure you are in no fear of freezing to death down in San Diego.

Fighting Back

On 22 July 1942, the Warsaw Jewish council was informed that “all Jewish persons living in the Warsaw Ghetto, regardless of age and gender, would be resettled in the East.” They all knew by this time what that meant. They were going to a death camp. Rather than go peacefully, they began to erect barricades and stockpile weapons (in reality, these defensive preparations had been in the works for a while).

While the members of the resistance lacked adequate military training and possessed few weapons, they made an effective network of tunnels and hodge-podge bunkers.

When the German columns of tanks and soldiers first started to move into the intersections, the Jewish resisters rained down Molotov cocktails, grenades, and bullets. The barricades were able to prevent the movement of the tanks, and the Germans were forced to fight room by room, door by door. The Jewish fighters would rain down gunfire and Molotovs in an ambush then quickly melt away into the booby-trapped buildings.

In Warsaw, the Germans were forced to use flamethrowers to burn the buildings down block by block and to blow up the sewers entirely.

[they] were beaten by the flames, not the Germans; there was no air, only black, choking smoke and heavy burning heat radiating from the red-hot walls, from the glowing stone stairs.”

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The Lesson Here for Fighting in an Urban Environment:

While you may not need to be fighting back against any large occupying force, you will need to be able to defend your home. The first lesson here which we already covered is your physical condition. You can’t fight back if you are weak from hunger or suffering from hypothermia. The first step in combat is being able to fight.

Secondly is have a supply of weapons and tactics effective for your scenario or situation. Machine guns cover roads, Molotovs can be dropped, booby-trap doors, etc. Have multiple escape routes mapped and planned.

This shows the tactical advantage you can have defending yourself against even the largest and best trained military forces. It also shows they may resort to trying to burn you out.

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4 No Cook Meals For Surviving The Pandemic And Food Supply Shortages

prosciutto avocado sandwich

When it comes to your food supply, you just can’t risk not having enough. These no cook meals will be a great addition to your food supply planning. Check out the recipes below!

No Cook Meals to Help You Through the Pandemic

As of the writing of this article, there are 20 meat processing plants that have been shut down due to COVID-19 infections. We have been worrying about these types of effects on our food supply for months now, and this is the first real sign of how infections can affect the food supply.

When you walk into a supermarket, you might not see all the choices you had in the past. An empty meat case is a humbling thing for your eyes to fall upon. It’s the shocking realization that the seemingly infinite supply of chickens, pigs, and cows that are butchered for us has begun to run dry!

To deal with this issue, we are going to present four no cook meals that will help you create dinners at home that will feed your family without worrying so much about what’s available, or unavailable, in the meat case.

1. Smashed White Bean, Avocado and Salted Pork Sandwiches

Smashed White Bean, Avocado and Salted Pork Sandwiches | No Cook Meals for Surviving the Pandemic and Food Supply Shortages

As preppers we get beans. There are a bunch of ways to use beans and this a great example of how you can pack a sandwich with great nutrition and protein.

Serving: Makes 4 sandwiches


  • Can of White Beans
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Avocado
  • 8 Slices of Whole Grain Bread
  • 8 Slices of Salted Pork (Prosciutto, Ham, Virginia Ham)


  • Begin by draining your beans in a colander then smashing them up in a bowl add a few glugs of olive oil, salt, pepper. This little mix is delicious. If you add some minced rosemary, you can even turn this into a delicious dip.
  • Pit your avocado and cut it in half and then quarters lengthwise. Leave the skin on.
  • Lay the bread out on a clean work surface for assembling the sandwiches.
  • Spread your mashed bean mix onto one side of the bread.
  • Peel your avocados and slice 1 quarter for each sandwich. Spread slices over the bean spread.
  • Add a few slices of your pork to over the top of the avocado.
  • You can finish this sandwich with some lettuces, fresh sprouts, or just eat it as is.

2. Delicious Crab Salad

Canned crab is a protein option that will likely be around through much of this meat crisis. It does have to be kept in refrigeration, but it’s delicious and this chipotle mayo salad is great in the spring and summer.


  • 1 Can of Crab Meat
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus
  • Chipotle Mayo
  • 1 Bunch of Green Onions
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro


  • Drain your crab in a colander and set it in the sink.
  • Slice your asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Throw them into a bowl.
  • Thinly slice your onions and your cilantro and throw that into the bowl, as well.
  • Gently toss in the crab meat.
  • Squirt on enough Chipotle mayo to coat everything and toss gently not to break up the crab meat.
  • Chill in the fridge and serve.

3. Simple Greek Salad

Simple Greek Salad | No Cook Meals for Surviving the Pandemic and Food Supply Shortages

The combination of simple summer ingredients makes for an incredible quick salad that you could add other proteins, too, if you wanted. These could be canned meats.


  • 2 Large Tomatoes
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Red Onion
  • ¼ Cup of Feta Cheese
  • A Few Sprigs of Fresh Mint
  • ½ Cup of Kalamata Olives
  • Balsamic Dressing


  • I like to cut the tomatoes in large chunks and have them kind of be the main course in this salad. Peel and slice your cucumber in half. Remove the seeds and either dice or slice in half-moons.
  • Peel and slice your red onion in half. Julienne your, or thinly slice, your half onion.
  • Add all these ingredients to a bowl. Finely slice your mint.
  • Add your olives, crumbled feta, and mint to the bowl and add enough dressing to coat everything.
  • Stir it up and allow this to chill for at least an hour for the flavors to really blend.

4. Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps | No Cook Meals for Surviving the Pandemic and Food Supply Shortages

Using some similar ingredients and adding a protein like tuna, you can create some delicious lettuce wraps. The key to a good lettuce wrap is to have most of the items around the same size. So, consider that when you are preparing this dish.


  • Iceberg or Butter Lettuce
  • Canned Artichokes
  • Canned roasted Red peppers
  • Fresh Cucumber
  • Feta Cheese
  • Minced Olives ¼ Cup
  • 2 Cans of Tuna
  • Green Onions
  • Basil


  • Start by peeling all the full leaves from your lettuce. Set them on a plate either cover them with a wet paper towel or put them back into the fridge.
  • Dice the peppers, artichokes, and cucumbers into cubes. Go no larger than ½ an inch.
  • Thinly slice your green onions and basil and add them to a bowl with your diced vegetables. Add your loves to this bowl and mix them thoroughly.
  • Crumble your feta cheese over the mixture.
  • Drain your tuna thoroughly and then add that to the bowl, as well.
  • Gently toss this mixture. Try not to break up the tuna and the cheese too much but incorporate it thoroughly.
  • If you want, you can add some olive oil to the mix or a few glugs of balsamic vinegar. It’s also delicious just how it is.
  • Scoop a few tablespoons into a lettuce leaf, wrap it up and eat up!

These no cook meals should help lessen the stress you feel when thinking of what to feed your family. If you don’t have the specific ingredients, use your creativity, and use what you have. You might discover a new recipe while you’re at it!

What’s your favorite no cook meal recipe? Please share it with us in the comments section!

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Billionaire Whistle Blower: Wuhan Coronavirus Death Toll Is Over 50,000

  1. Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui recently revealed leaks from Wuhan crematoriums. He claims based on the number of bodies their furnaces are burning, the death toll could be as high as 50,000.

A Chinese billionaire and whistleblower who lives in U.S. exile says Wuhan crematoriums have burned 50,000 coronavirus victims. | Credit: Chinatopix via AP

  • The official coronavirus death toll in China is a little over 800. But an exiled Chinese businessman says crematoriums are leaking the real figure.
  • A billionaire whistleblower alleges Wuhan has crematoriums working 24/7. He claims they’ve cremated some 50,000 coronavirus victims.
  • Guo Wengui is a Chinese billionaire living in exile in the United States.

The official coronavirus death toll is some 800 people in China. The current official death toll worldwide, outside of China, is 774. But a Chinese billionaire with a history of blowing the whistle on his former government says the real figure is much higher.

Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui recently revealed leaks from Wuhan crematoriums. He claims based on the number of bodies their furnaces are burning, the death toll could be as high as 50,000. Wengui made the bombshell allegations in an interview with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.


Whistleblower: 1.5 Million Coronavirus Cases In China, 50,000 Coronavirus Deaths In Wuhan


He also claims to have inside information that there are 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases in China. Wengui is emphatic that these are not merely quarantined or “under observation” but confirmed cases of coronavirus infection:


China has struggled to contain the coronavirus. But it has also struggled to contain public outcry against censorship and tight control of information. Dr. Li Wenliang, who sounded the alarm about the disease, succumbed to an infection and died this week. The Chinese government arrested him for blowing the whistle.

Then officials tried to suppress news of his death. Afterwards, millions of Chinese citizens saw the hashtag #IWantFreedomOfSpeech on Mandarin language social media. But the Chinese government censored that too.

Are Wengui’s Crematorium Claims Credible?

Watch VICE’s 2017 profile on Guo Wengui. At the time, he published bombshell documents alleging corruption in the Chinese government. He got the attention of the media and reportedly the U.S. State Department.


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5 Types Of Ammunition To Stockpile For A Collapse


Every prepper knows it’s a great idea to stockpile ammunition when preparing for a major disaster.

You can use it for hunting, self-defense, or barter.

But which types of ammo should you stockpile?

If you plan on bartering, then you don’t want a bunch of calibers that nobody wants. And that’s just one consideration.

In this video, Reality Survival & Prepping talks about what he thinks are the 5 best types of ammunition to stockpile for a collapse.

Here are his picks:

  1. .22 LR – Very common, good for hunting small game, very light and small.
  2. 9mm Luger – Great for self-defense, fits in a wide variety of handguns.
  3. 5.56×45mm or .223 Remington – Also very common, cheap and effective.
  4. .308 Winchester – Widely used, works in AR10 and bolt-action platforms.
  5. 12 Gauge – You can do a lot with it — hunt, defend yourself, etc.

In the video below he makes a much more detailed case for each caliber. What do you think of this list?

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