The clamp down on Jews in Poland began almost as soon as the first shots of WWII were fired. Following the brief conflict, occupying German soldiers at first contented themselves with ritually humiliating any Jews they encountered on the street. A punch was thrown here, a beating administered there. Crowds gathered as the crowing, cocksure military men publicly shaved off the whiskers which marked out an orthodox Jew. Few Jews fought back. The punishment for striking a German officer was torture and frequently death. And not just for the perpetrator of the alleged crime. The concept of mass punishments for one single misdemeanour soon brought the population to heel. Laws were hastily introduced to formalise the new official attitude to Jews. They were forbidden to work in certain jobs, to bake bread, for example, or sit at the desk of a government office. No Jewish worker was allowed to earn more than 500 zloty a month - at a time when the price of bread was as high as 40 zloty per loaf. Poland's Home Army attracted enthusiastic recruits. All Jewish wealth was confiscated and no longer could they ride on trains, trams, wear gold jewellery or leave their own district without official permission. From 12 November 1939, every Jew aged 12 years and above was compelled to wear a white arm band with a blue Star of David displayed on it. From this the situation deteriorated. During the Easter holidays of 1940, old-fashioned pogroms took place with Polish thugs in the pay of the Nazis wreaking havoc in the Jewish quarter of Warsaw. For the first time, the Jews retaliated. There was a collection of Jewish militants who refused to tolerate any further subservience to the aggressor. They gave a good account of themselves in the ensuing street battles. However, this token resistance could do little to halt the German roller-coaster in Warsaw. In November 1940 the Germans finally established the Warsaw Ghetto. Now the entire Jewish population numbering some 300,000 was confined to a specially designated area. Poles that lived within its boundaries were compelled to move out. Walls were built around it and security was made even tighter with vicious barbed wire. By the middle of the month the Warsaw Ghetto had been entirely isolated from the outside world. Inside, the existence was a sordid and miserable one. Now there was little opportunity to earn even a crust. Jews had already been brought to the depths of poverty by the actions of the Nazis, and they had nothing left to fall back on. Starving Poles reach for Red Cross bread as it is distributed across the divide in occupied Warsaw. Daily, the population of the Warsaw Ghetto increased with the arrival of more Jews deported from other cities and towns around Poland. There to greet them were the malnutrition, disease and hopelessness that were all mirrored in the bleak faces of the inhabitants. To the people of the Ghetto, the war was now a distant issue. The effect of the segregation on their minds together with their physical hardships left them able to focus only on the day-to-day survival of themselves and their closest family. Ghetto dwellers for the most part relied on soup kitchens and a meagre ration of bread, plus whatever they could scavenge or beg. Six-year-old boys were dispatched by their parents through holes in the barbed wire to steal food from other areas of the city. Occasionally they were shot in the process. If they returned, their haul was seized on by starving siblings and parents. Food was smuggled in from the Ayran sections of the city by the burgeoning numbers of black marketeers who preyed on the snared Jews. Jewish businessman seeking to make a living was equally at the mercy of these rogues. The final vestiges of wealth remaining among the Jews were spent in this way during the first few months. Within months people began to die of hunger in the streets. Corpses were covered over with paper which was weighted with stones until the daily round of the burial cart. Desperate families would dump their own dead in the streets to save the cost of a funeral. Often, the bodies were naked, stripped of rags which had now become a valuable commodity. Polish children ready to risk their lives to deliver underground newspapers around the occupied capital. Disease was raging through the over-crowded and squalid conditions, with admissions to the hospital exceeding 150 a day. Instead of feeling pity or self disgust in the face of this unmitigated horror, the delusion of the Germans continued. A German major who witnessed what was happening in the Warsaw Ghetto put the blame on Jewish barbarism: “The conditions in the ghetto can hardly be described ... The Jew does business here with the others also on the street. In the morning, as I drove through in my car, I saw numerous corpses, among them those of children, covered anyhow with paper weighed down with stones. The other Jews pass by them indifferently, the primitive "corpse carts" come and take away these "remainders" with which no more business can be done. The ghetto is blocked by walls, barbed-wire and so forth ... Dirt, stench and noise are the main signs of the ghetto.” Men and women from the Ghetto are marched off to camps. Their destination was probably Treblinka.