The Passing of a Noble Man
Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, passed away this weekend.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising took place during the spring of 1943, and it was the first major organized act of resistance by any civilian population under Nazi rule. Even though its military significance was basically nil, the symbolic importance of the last stand of the remaining Jews of Warsaw before the ghetto was liquidated cannot be exaggerated.
The uprising became the focal point of Israeli Holocaust commemoration, and several of those who participated in it became notable public figures when they moved to Israel after the War. The leader of the uprising, Mordechai Anielewicz, fell in battle during the uprising, but countless streets in Israel carry his name, as does Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.
Marek Edelman was far less celebrated in Israel, because unlike so many of the other survivors of the Holocaust, he remained in Poland after the War. Despite the pogrom in Kielce in 1946, the communist take-over and the anti-Semitic purges of 1968, Edelman stayed in Poland, a country which had a Jewish population of about 3.3 million souls when he was born in 1922, and merely a few thousand at the day of his death on October 2, 2009.
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Entry filed under: Life.