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Resistance Is the Lesson

Why So Few, So Late? by Morris U. Schappes From the Autumn 2015 special issue of Jewish Currents on the theme, “Honoring the Jewish Resistance.” Originally published in 1948. THE DATE of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising — Passover, 1943 — will be the occasion for exercises of commemoration wherever Jews live and wherever heroism in […]

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Marek Edelman, the Heroic Anti-Hero

“I am the Guardian of the Jewish Graves” by Itzhak Luden Translated from the Yiddish by Barnett Zumoff; published in the Yiddish Forverts, 10/5/2009 In principle, the most important thing is — life. And when there is life, the most important thing is freedom. And after that, one gives his life for freedom. Then one […]

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July 14: Escape through the Sewers of Warsaw

The sole woman within the high command of the Jewish Fighting Organization in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Zivia Lubetkin died in Israel at age 61 on this date in 1976. Born and raised in Poland, Lubetkin was a leader in the leftwing Zionist youth movement and was one of the brave young Jews who left […]

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Remembering the Jewish Resistance

Why Has It Been Downplayed? by Hershl Hartman THIS WILL NOT BE a dispassionate academic paper. For one thing, I am not an academic. And, too, you may detect some passion. If my points are made clearly, they may shake up some previously held concepts. At least, they may provoke thought about things we thought […]

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April 17: A Few Words in the Mother Tongue

Poet, writer, and activist scholar Irena Klepfisz, a child survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, was born there on this date in 1941. Her father Michal, a leader of the Jewish Bund, was killed on the second day of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, when Irena was 2; she and her mother escaped to the countryside and […]

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August 16: The Bialystok Ghetto Uprising

The second-largest Jewish ghetto uprising in Nazi-occupied Poland (after Warsaw) broke out in the Bialystok Ghetto on this date in 1943. Its main purpose was to halt mass deportations to the death camps and enable as many Jews as possible to escape into the neighboring Knyszyn Forest. Some 300 fighters, led by Mordechai Tenenbaum (fourth […]

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June 15: A Ghetto Fighter, at 92

Stefan 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 […]

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April 19: The Uprising, 70 Years Ago

Nazi casualties: only 16 dead, 100 wounded, according to Yad Vashem researcher Havi Dreifuss. Yet the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which erupted on this date in 1943, “was a moral victory,” says Dreifuss. “No one believed the Jews would fight back. It’s amazing that after three years of Nazi occupation, starvation and illness, these people found […]

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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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