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June 15: A Ghetto Fighter, at 92

June 15, 2014

Warsaw GhettoStefan Grayek was one of the last surviving Warsaw Ghetto fighters upon his death at 92 on this date in 2008. As a young Zionist, Grayek helped organize the resistance and escape routes through the ghetto’s sewers, built Molotov cocktails, instructed comrades in the use of small arms and grenades, and ultimately escaped and survived by hiding with Christian families. After the war, he helped locate Jewish children who had been hidden in Catholic institutions and helped surviving Polish Jews emigrate to Israel, where he went in 1949, helping to found Kibbutz Lohamel HaGetaot, the Ghetto Fighters Kibbutz. Grayek was also president of the World Federation of Jewish Fighters, Partisans, and Camp Inmates, a member of the directorate of Yad Vashem, and the author of four books about anti-Nazi resistance.

“We felt it was better to die with a gun in our hands than to take a train to Treblinka. We knew it was not possible to beat the Germans, but we wanted a high price for our lives.” —Stefan Grayek