Over 1.3 million people lived in Warsaw, Poland at the start of war with Germany in September 1939; at least 350,000 were Jewish. On this day in 1945 the city was liberated by the Allied forces but found completely devastated.
When Soviet troops resumed their offensive on January 17, 1945, they liberated a devastated Warsaw. According to Polish data, only about 174,000 people were left in the city, less than six per cent of the prewar population. Approximately 11,500 of the survivors were Jews.
Also on this day, three years earlier in 1942, the Nazis began the forced deportations from ghettos to the Chelmno extermination camp to carry out mass killings of their “Final Solution” (described by an escapee with details and reported to London by June 1942).