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October 29: Assassinating the Ghetto’s Jewish Police

Lawrence Bush
October 28, 2016
Jewish resistance leaders in the Warsaw Ghetto assassinated Jacob Lejkin, deputy head of the Ghetto’s Jewish police, on this date in 1942. The assassination was planned by Emilia Landau, 17, who would be killed in the first Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on January 18, 1943; Eliyahu Rozanski, who pulled the trigger and would be killed on January 18, 1943; and three other members of the Ha-Shomer ha-Za’ir (Jewish Self-Defense Group). The assassination was one of a series that targeted Jewish police and Jewish Council members who were collaborating with the Nazis, and served to establish the ZOB (Jewish Fighting Organization) as a commanding presence in the Ghetto. Two months earlier, an attempt to kill Josef Szerynski, head of the Jewish police had wounded and disfigured him; he committed suicide on January 24, 1943. “Margalit Landau and Mordechai Grobas trailed Lejkin for some time, studying his habits and charting his regular movements and hours of work, while Eliahu Rozanski was chosen as the man to do the killing. As evening approached . . . Lejkin was shot to death while walking from the police station to his home in Gesia Street. His aide, Czaplinski, who was walking by his side, was injured.” --holocaust research

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.