(Ghetto! Entry Forbidden for Wehrmacht) 500mm x 420mm steel sign
Jewish ghettos in Europe were neighbourhoods of European cities in which Jews were permitted to live. In addition to being confined to the ghettos, Jews were placed under strict regulations as well as restrictions in many European cities. The character of ghettos fluctuated over the centuries. In some cases, they comprised a Jewish quarter, the area of a city traditionally inhabited by Jews. In many instances, ghettos were places of terrible poverty and during periods of population growth, ghettos had narrow streets and small, crowded houses. Residents had their own justice system. Around the ghetto stood walls that, during pogroms, were closed from inside to protect the community, but from the outside during Christmas, Pesach, and Easter Week to prevent the Jews from leaving at those times.
In the 19th century, with the coming of Jewish emancipation, Jewish ghettos were progressively abolished, and their walls taken down. However, in the course of World War II the Third Reich created a totally new Jewish ghetto-system for the purpose of persecution, terror, and exploitation of Jews, mostly in Eastern Europe. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum archives, "The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos in German-occupied and annexed Poland and the Soviet Union alone."
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