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October 7: Uprising in Auschwitz

Members of the Sonderkommando (corpse handlers) who were facing their own annihilation in Auschwitz rose up against their captors on this date in 1944. They succeeded in killing the SS company commander and three guards and burning the crematoria. Six hundred internees escaped during the uprising, but all of them were hunted down and killed. […]

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August 2: Treblinka Uprising

An uprising in the Treblinka death camp, located some 60 miles from Warsaw and inspired, in part, by news of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, was launched on this date in 1943. At least 900,000 people, nearly all Jews (as well as Gypsies and Romani people), had been killed at Treblinka since July, 1942. Hundreds of […]

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July 17: Hannah Senesh

Hannah Senesh, a Hungarian Jew who lived in Palestine and was trained by the British as an anti-Nazi fighter, was born on this day in 1921. She emigrated to Palestine and joined the paramilitary Haganah in 1941. In March, 1944, after enlisting and training in the British army, Senesh, Yoel Palgi and Peretz Goldstein parachuted […]

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June 29: The Slonim Massacres

Following some acts of armed resistance by Jewish partisans in the ghetto of Slonim, Byelorussia (Poland), the Nazis set the ghetto on fire on this date in 1942 and spent the next two weeks laboriously murdering between seven and ten thousand Jews. Slonim was home to a hasidic dynasty, to numerous prominent rabbis and scholars, […]

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June 16: Marc Bloch and the French Resistance

French historian Marc Bloch was captured, tortured and murdered by the Gestapo on this date in 1944 for his participation in the Resistance. When the Nazis invaded France, Bloch left his professorship at the Sorbonne to become a captain in the French Army at age 52 (he had already been awarded the Legion d’honneur for […]

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Arendt, Hilberg, & the Warsaw Ghetto

by Nicholas Jahr Nathaniel Popper (formerly of The Forward) has a great essay in The Nation on Hannah Arendt and Raul Hilberg. The latter’s The Destruction of the European Jews was the first serious scholarly study of the Holocaust and the bureaucracy necessary to murder 11 million people. Prior to Hilberg’s work, “there was not […]

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April 19: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising broke out on this date in 1943, months after an initial and brief armed uprising in January had delayed a Nazi roundup of Jews for the death camps. The Jewish Fighting Organization contained representatives of Hashomer Hatzair, the Bund, the Polish Workers-Communist Party, Halutz (Pioneers), and others, and was led by […]

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Avram Sutzkever z"l

As a quarterly magazine, Jewish Currents sadly can’t always keep up with the deaths of Jewish heroes and heroines of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations in a timely way. Radical historian Howard Zinn, Yiddish theater star Mina Bern, leftwing sportswriter Lester Rodney, and cultural pioneer Art D’Lugoff all passed within the past few weeks and […]

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January 18: First Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The first armed resistance against Nazi liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto took place on this date in 1943. Jewish fighters, armed with pistols, infiltrated columns of Jews who were about to be deported to Treblinka death camp, and then broke ranks and fired upon their guards. Among the fighters was Mordecai Anielewicz, the 24-year-old who […]

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Resistance: Camp Hemshekh and a Survivor's Daughter

by Margie Newman My childhood home was filled with a sense of loss and heaviness. It was as though we lived with a phantom, more an absence than a presence, never named, tiptoed around but never explored. My mother spoke of it only as “What Daddy Went Through,” “What Happened to Daddy,” or “The War.” […]

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