Friday, 19 April 2013

70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

National and city flags were out today to mark the 70th (Yes! Just 70!) anniversary of the beginning of the uprising in the Jewish Ghetto. The First Warsaw Uprising; an uprising doomed to failure from the outset, yet glorious in retrospect. Glorious in that people who knew they had been marked for death decided to stand up and fight and hit back at their execrably evil oppressors and hurt them. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the largest revolt by Jews in WW2. I ask all my readers to take the time to read the Wikipedia pages about the Ghetto and its Uprising.

The inhumanity of the Nazis - the barbarism displayed by German soldiers who were sent into the Ghetto to take the lives of scores of thousands of human lives - is absolutely unspeakable.

On 19 April 1943, the day before the Nazis were due enter the Ghetto to liquidate it (the date was set as 20 April, Hitler's birthday) Jewish fighters rose up, knowing the alternative to struggle was deportation and death. Between a quarter and a third of a million Jews imprisoned in the Ghetto had already been sent to extermination camps in the previous round of deportations the previous summer.

The Germans had been planning to finally liquidate the Ghetto, deport the remaining 70,000 Jews to extermination camps, and raze the Ghetto to the ground.

The fight was totally one-sided; for every Nazi soldier killed, over 1,000 Jews died. Those that survived were deported and exterminated anyway.

Unimaginable in our day - just a few decades later. As a part of the Holocaust, it is the shame the German nation will have to live with for centuries. Let us never forget it.

Click here for the English-language pages of the website commemorating the Ghetto Uprising. And click here for BBC coverage of the commemorations. The 70th Anniversary of the start of the rising was marked by the opening of a new museum in Warsaw - the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. I shall be visiting it shortly.

Pokój ich cieniom.

This time last year:
Tarkovsky's Stalker: a zone of my own

This time two years ago:
Warsaw's big billboards

This time four years ago:
Pace of development falters

This time six years ago:
Strange days indeed


student SGH said...

Friday, 10 a.m. Drones commemorating the outbreak of the Ghetto uprising are audible across the district of Wola

In my office, some one and the half miles from the venue of commemorations - born and bred in Warsaw stop by for a while to contemplate the memory of the insurgents, migrants wonder whether this is an evacuation alert...

jel said...

Please try to read the novel "Chleb rzucony umarłym" by Bogdan Wojdowski. There are many descriptions of life in Warsaw Ghetto but Wojdowski's prose is exceptional and really great.