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January 22: The Warsaw Ghetto Underground

The Jewish Fighting Organization of Warsaw (ZOB) issued the following proclamation about this date in 1943, following its first act of armed resistance (January 18th): “On January 22 1943, six months will have elapsed since the start of the deportation from Warsaw. We all remember those harrowing days in which 300,000 of our brothers and […]

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December 6: Aborigines Against Anti-Semitism

Members of the Australian Aborigines League, led by William Cooper, 77, marched through Melbourne to the German Consulate on this date in 1938 to present a petition protesting Kristallnakht, the Nazi-sponsored pogrom against German Jews. The contingent was turned away at the consulate gate. Cooper had organized the League four years earlier as one of […]

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October 24: Gathering the Survivors

Benjamin Meed (Miedzyrzecki), who helped to found the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in 1981 and led the organization until 2006, died on this date in that year at age 88. Meed was a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto who was recruited to the underground by his future wife, Vladka (Fayge) Peltel, with whom […]

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October 17: Sabotage amid Holocaust

A Jewish partisan group led by Abba Kovner blew up two bridges and two train engines in the Vilna region on this date in 1943. “Jews formed armed resistance groups only after they realized there was no possible escape from the Nazis’ aim of total annihilation,” writes Shmuel Krakowski in the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews […]

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September 2: Unarmed Resistance

On this date in 1942, the population of the ghetto of Lachva in Poland/Belorussia were informed that some farmers had been ordered by the Nazis to dig large pits  outside the town, and that 150 German soldiers from an Einsatzgruppe mobile murder squad, along with 200 local auxiliaries, had surrounded the ghetto. The next day, […]

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July 23: “I Can No Longer Bear All of This”

Adam Czerniaków, the leader of the Judenrat, or Jewish Council, of the Warsaw Ghetto for three years, committed suicide on this date in 1942, one day after mass deportations of Warsaw Jews to Treblinka extermination camp began. The Nazis had ordered him to compile the deportation lists, and threatened to shoot hostages, including his wife, […]

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July 9: Heroine of the Vilna Ghetto

Vitka Kempner and Itzik Matzkevitch returned to the Vilna Ghetto on this date in 1942, after blowing up a Nazi military train five miles to the southeast. Kempner, born in 1920, formed a resistance cell in the ghetto with poet Abba Kovner, whom she later married. Their United Partisans Organization smuggled weapons through the sewer […]

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May 8: Commander of the Uprising

Mordecai Anielewicz, the 23-year-old commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, was killed by the Nazis with several of his comrades in their bunker at Mila 18 on this date in 1943, twenty days after the start of the rebellion. A leader within Hashomer Hatzair, the socialist Zionist youth movement, Anielewicz was among a group that […]

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April 7: Escape from Auschwitz

Two inmates at Auschwitz escaped on this date in 1944 with the help of the camp’s underground to tell the world about the murder of Hungarian Jews that was then transpiring by the tens of thousands. Rudolf Vrba (Walter Rosenberg) and Alfred Wetzler dictated thirty-two pages of detailed information to Jewish communal officials in Slovakia, […]

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January 9: A Partisan of the Minsk Ghetto

Emma Radova, a 21-year-old communist partisan in the Minsk Ghetto who served as an internal liaison for the ghetto underground, was executed by the Nazis on this date in 1943. Radova, writes Barbara Leslie Epstein (The Minsk Ghetto, 1941-43), “knew the name and addresses of more underground members than did anyone else, and she stayed […]

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