Until the German invasion in 1939, the Polish capital of Warsaw was a vibrant center of Jewish life, home to some 350,000 Jews and the second-largest Jewish community in the world.

But on Oct. 12, 1940, the German occupier issued a decree ordering all Jewish residents of the capital and surrounding towns to move into an area of 1.3 square miles, closed off by a 10 feet high wall. Estimates suggest more than 400,000 people were locked in the ghetto, according to the U.S. Holocaust Museum, making for an average of 7.2 persons living per room in the area.

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