"The enemy trapped the Jews in the city by building a wall around it.
Foodstuffs could not be brought in: starvation and crowded conditions gave rise to disease, and epidemics spread among the populace. But surprisingly the Jews held on.
Then the enemy massed troops outside the wall and brought out the latest in weaponry. They attacked, using fire to spread destruction. The Jews repelled the enemy a number of times. So savage was the resistance that the campaign to destroy the Jewish population took much longer and cost more troops than anticipated. Street by street the fighting raged with hand-to-hand combat between the heavily armed troops and the haggard defenders. Some Jews tried to escape through the sewers, but they were flushed out by fire.
At the end the Jews had taken a heavy toll on their enemy but the city lay in smoking ruins. The remaining Jewish survivors were rounded up to be used as slave laborers or to be killed.
What episode in Jewish history is depicted in this scenario?
Most people would say this was the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis in 1943. But in fact it was the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in the year 70
The destruction of the Second temple and the attack on the Warsaw Ghetto, although separated by nearly two thousand years have and eerie sameness.
The Germans sealed off the Warsaw's Jewish population with and eight-foot brick concrete wall. The Romans built a high earthen barricade around Jerusalem to make certain the Jews could not escape. Germans shot, on the spot Jews discovered outside the Warsaw Ghetto. The Romans crucified the Jews they found, placing crosses atop the hill to terrorize those watching from inside the city: as many as 500 were crucified in 1 day. The Germans tried to starve the Polish Jews into submission reducing their rations at first to 800 calories a day and later cutting off all food to the ghetto. The Romans used the tactic of siege to bring starvation in Jerusalem.
In both episodes the actual fighting was in some ways similar. "Since the ghetto was impenetrable in frontal attack, General Stroop's forces set fire to the buildings with incendiary bombs and flame throwers" Titus's Roman legions used flaming torches of wood to set fire to the Temple and other buildings in the final battle. "Through the roar of the flames as they [the Romans] swept relentlessly on could be heard the groans of the falling... the entire city seemed to be on fire.
The Nazis not only killed but plundered Jews if their possessions; the Romans "were so avaricious that they pushed on climbing over the piles or corpses for many valuables were found in the passages and all scruples were silenced by the prospect of gain. "The Romans took so much gold from the Jews that it's price fell by half in Syria.
The nazis used Jews for slave labor the Romans sent thousands of Jewish captives to work on projects on Egypt. The Nazis made grisly sport with their victims and conducted fiendish medical experiments before killing the Jews. Titus had thousands of Jewish captives killed in gladiatorial contests and staged fights between them and wild beasts to celebrate his victory and, on one occasion this brother's birthday and Vespasian the Roman Emperor had non swimmers shackled with their hands and feet behind them and thrown into the deepest parts of the Dead Sea to test the theory that no one could sink in the heavily salted water.
There was one difference between the two events. Three years after
destroying Jerusalem, the Romans put down the final Jewish revolt of the
war by capturing Massada. Three years after the Holocaust ended the State of
Israel was reborn.
The destruction of the Second Temple serves with the Holocaust as a frame
the Jewish experience in the world. For instance just as no other people in the
modern era has suffered a devastation comparable to that of the Jews during
the Holocaust the attack on Jerusalem was unparalleled in the ancient world.
"No destruction ever wrought by G-D or man approached the wholesale
carnage of this war" said Josephus.