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January 19: Protesting Apartheid

A group of teenagers who were graduates of the progressive, secular Sholem Sunday School in Los Angeles occupied a building belonging to the South African consulate on this date in 1987 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, twenty-five years ago. They were acting  in solidarity with sit-ins taking place around the world in the struggle […]

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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 17: Marek Edelman, Fighter and Healer

Dr. Marek Edelman, the only one of five commanders of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising to survive the conflagration, was awarded Poland’s highest medal, the Order of the White Eagle, on this date in 1998. Edelman was a young Bundist when he helped create the Jewish Fighting Organization. He escaped the burning ghetto through the […]

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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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March 7: Emanuel Ringelblum

Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum, who created an extensive secret archive of documents about life and death in the Warsaw Ghetto, was executed with his family by the Nazis, amid the ruins of the ghetto, on this day in 1944. Ringelblum kept a descriptive diary, Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto, which survived his death, and also organized […]

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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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Jewish Cultural Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto

Each year, the commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – which began on the eve of Passover, April 19th, 1943 – makes us feel astonished by the fact that the revolt took place at all. The Second World War was in its fourth year. The Nazis had been carrying out their plan to annihilate Jews […]

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