Żagiew ("The Torch", Die Fackel), also known as Żydowska Gwardia Wolności (the "Jewish Freedom Guard"), was a Nazi-collaborationist Jewish agent-provocateur group in German-occupied Poland, founded and sponsored by the Germans and led by Abraham Gancwajch.[1]


Many Żagiew members were related to the collaborationist Jewish organization Group 13, which was also led by Gancwajch. The organization operated primarily within the Warsaw Ghetto. Żagiew was established in late 1940 and existed until the Ghetto's elimination during the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Żagiew had over a thousand Jewish secret agents[2] and some were permitted by their Gestapo handlers to possess firearms.[3]

Żagiew's prime goal was to infiltrate the Jewish resistance network and reveal its connections with the Polish underground that aided and hid Jews in the General Government. The organization was able to inflict considerable damage on both fronts.[4] Żagiew agents were also instrumental in organizing the Hotel Polski affair, in Warsaw, a German scheme to lure thousands of wealthy Jews, under false promises of evacuation to South America, into a trap and extort their money and valuables before killing most of them.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Jerzy Ślaski, Jerzy Piesiewicz, Polska walcząca: 1939-1945, Instytut Wydawniczy Pax, 1990, ISBN 83-211-1428-8.
  2. ^ a b Piotrowski, Tadeusz (1997). Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide…. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland & Company. p. 74. ISBN 0-7864-0371-3.
  3. ^ Marian Apfelbaum, Two Flags: Return to the Warsaw Ghetto, Gefen Publishing House, Jerusalem, 2007, p. 151.
  4. ^ Henryk Piecuch, Syndrom tajnych służb: czas prania mózgów i łamania kości (A Syndrome of Secret Services: A Time of Brainwashing and of Breaking Bones), Agencja Wydawnicza CB, 1999, ISBN 83-86245-66-2.