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220 13 April 2011 The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Heroes of the Slums The summer of 1942 marked the start of the rebellion.The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum suggests that between the months of July and September, the German authorities murdered over 300,00 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. Only 35,000 Jews were granted permission to stay in the Ghetto, and about 20,000 Jews were in hiding in the Ghetto at that time. With deportation breathing down the backs of 55,000 Jews, the resistance took shape in the form of two groups, the Jewish Combat Organization (Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa; ZOB) and the Jewish Military Union (Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowy; ZZW) (USHMM). According to John Radzilowski, On April 19 1943, a German police patrol entered the Warsaw Ghetto to begin a round up that what would be the start of the final extractment of all the Jewish inhabitants in the Ghetto. As the patrol proceeded down Mila Street a barrage of shots rang out, killing the patrol's commander and wounding several policemen. The police retreated in confusion as the young men of ZOB ran to collect the weapons of the fallen Germans. For the next 29 days the ZOB and its allies fought Nazi forces in the first Jewish Resistance of World War II. Radzilowski says, ³The outnumbered and poorly
Bagley 2 armed Jewish resistance were finally overwhelmed, but their actions became an example of heroism in the face of unspeakable evil. Many of the Jewish fighters, including most of the leaders of the ZOB, died at their posts rather than surrender. In the end Jewish losses were 6,000 combat dead along with 55 fighters from the Polish Home Army. Although the Germans officially listed only about 100 casualties, contemporary Polish sources reported German losses at 1,300 dead and wounded.´ (Radzilowski). According to Moshe Arens, the intense fighting in the ghetto between the Jewish resistance fighters and the German army units, who were assisted by Ukrainian and Latvian militias and Polish policemen, lasted for about a month. Jewish fighters continued to hide in the many underground bunkers that had been built in the ghetto and small fighting continued for several weeks thereafter. The commander of the German assault on the ghetto was Gen. Juergen Stroop. General Stroop "declared victory" over the Jews on the evening of May 16, and to celebrate his victory he dynamited the great synagogue on Tomalckie Street.After the resistance had been eliminated and all the Jews were evacuated, the German army used flamethrowers to burn down most of the buildings. The rest was dynamited; which turned the once massive Warsaw Ghetto into a pile of rubble. Although the ghetto once housed more than half a million Jews, only a small margin ofthe resistance fighters survived (Aren). Those who fought in the resistance as fighters and supporters are heroes, and they should be remembered as such.
Bagley 3 Jack Eisner was only 15 years old when he fought the Germans in the Uprising. He raised the one of the houses in the of the fiercest struggle. and vowed to tell his The Survivor (William Kensington Publishers, name written by Susan Jack Eisner white-and-blue flag on top of Muranowska Square, the site Eisner was lucky to survive, story. He wrote a best- seller, Murrow, 1980, and 1995). The play of the same Nanus, and the movie written
by Academy Award-winner Abby Mann and directed by Moshe Mizrahi, were based on his autobiography. (Zvielli). In 1994, he led a group of survivors to meet with Pope John Paul II, part of the rapprochement between the Roman Catholic Church and Jews that had allowed the Vatican and Israel to establish diplomatic relations the year before. ''As a young boy growing up in prewar Warsaw, I feared crossing the sidewalk next to a church,'' Mr. Eisner said to the pope, ''Now, some 50 years later, the unthinkable is happening.'' (Martin). Abraham Lewents was lucky to survive the Warsaw Ghetto. In a family of five, he was the Lewents describes ghetto, ³The hunger great, was so bad, only one to survive. living conditions in the in the ghetto was so that people were laying
on the streets and
dying, little children went
around begging, and, uh, everyday you walked out in the morning, you see somebody is laying dead, covered with newspapers or with any kind of blanket
Bagley 4 they found, and you found...those people used to carry the dead people in little wagons, used to bring them down to the cemetery and bury them in mass graves. And every day thousands and thousands died just from malnutrition because the Germans didn't give anything for the people in the ghetto to eat. There was no such thing. You can't walk in and buy anything, or getting any rations. It's your hard luck. If you don't have it, you die, and that's what it was.´ In 1943, Abraham and his father were deported to Majdanek, where Abraham's father died. Abraham later was sent to Skarzysko, Buchenwald, Schlieben, Bisingen, and Dachau. U.S. troops liberated Abraham as the Germans evacuated prisoners. Lewents said his major reason for rebelling was to try and to protect his family, and though he could not save a single member, he is still a hero, and his family should be proud (USHMM). Jozef Wilk was a hero of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, and his memory lived on through the survival of his two sisters. In Warsaw, Jozef became a demolition man in a resistance. His code 19, 1943, his mission to blow open Jews could escape. wall on Bonifraterska special unit of the Polish name was "Orlik." On April resistance group got a part of a ghetto wall so other As his unit approached the Street with explosives and
weapons under their
coats, his friend "Mlodek"
tripped and his pistol accidentally dropped to the pavement. A policeman spotted the pistol and opened fire. Chaos erupted. German units opened fire on the unit
Bagley 5 before it could reach the wall.Jozef and "Mlodek" were killed. Their retreating unit detonated the explosives, blowing up Jozef's and "Mlodek's" bodies to make them unrecognizable. Jozef was only 18. Jozef Wilk sacrificed his life to rebel against the German army. Jozef Wilk died a hero (USHMM). Yitzhak Zuckerman was another hero of the Warsaw uprising. After the Holocaust Zuckerman ³I started drinking after claimed. ³It was very my heart, you would be Holocaust was over acted as if the Holocaust was haunted by the events. the war,´ Zuckerman sadly difficult« If you could lick poisoned.´ When the Zuckerman has said that he never ended and never
Yitzhak Zuckerman would. Zuckerman never tried to forget what he witnessed and participated in, ³It doesn¶t get easier or weaker with the years; on the contrary, it gets sharper.´ Zuckerman is a brave man for taking his past head on. Zuckerman¶s story is said to be repetitious and emotional and when he moves his words no eye remains dry. According to Zuckerman on when he talks about his gruesome past, ³I¶m not the one who determines the timing and it burst out of me it¶s a part of me.´ Zuckerman is a hero for living to tell his story (Marrus). The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising will go down in history as a heroic rebellion lead by courageous and heroic men. In Jack Eisner¶s Autobiography, Germans have the role of confirming the heroism: µµSo you were part of the uprising in Warsaw,¶ he said, µwe heard about it here. It was a gallant and courageous
Bagley 6 battle. Even the SS men are still talking about the Warsaw rebels.¶¶ The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a bloody and courageous battle. According to the USHMM, ³It is estimated that 18,000 insurgents were killed and another 6,000 were seriously wounded. A further 150,000 civilians were also killed during the uprising.´ (USHMM). The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising has only gained more respect as time passes. As Markus Meckl states, ³In the decades after the war the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising gained a central place in the collective memory of the Holocaust.´ (Meckl). Adolf Eichmann used the Warsaw Ghetto as a way to manipulate more Jews. He claimed in his interrogation in Israel: µµThe Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto in the year 1943 taught us a bitter lesson concerning the gathering of so many people. Elsewhere the Uprising resulted in severer measures against Jews still working as forced labourers in factories...We could use, and we did use, the example of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising like a salesman who could sell easily because he had a very effective promotional item.´ (Meckl). The outcome of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising may not be the outcome intended by those involved in the resistance, but those who resisted are heroes.
Bagley 7 Works Cited Arens, Moshe. "The Development of the Narrative of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising." Israel Affairs 14.1 (2008): 6-28. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 11 Apr. 2011. Marrus, Michael R. "Ghetto fighter: Yitzhak Zuckerman and the Jewish underground in Warsaw." American Scholar 64.2 (1995): 277. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 6 Apr. 2011. Martin, Douglas. "Jack Eisner, 77, Holocaust Chronicler, Dies." The New York Times 30 Aug. 2003. Web. 16 Apr. 2011. Meckl, Markus. "The Memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising." European Legacy 13.7 (2008): 815-824. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 6 Apr. 2011. Radzilowski, John. "Remembering the ghetto uprising at the U.S. holocaust muesum." Historian 55.4 (1993): 635. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 6 Apr. 2011. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. ³Warsaw ± Personal History: Abraham Lewent" ³Warsaw Personal History ± Personal History: Jozef Wilk´ "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2011. Zvielli, Alexander. "Holocaust Survivor Challenges Christians." The Jerusalum Post 27 June 1996: 7. Academic Search Elite. Web. 16 Apr. 2011.
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