Confronting The Plague of Bigotry: The Warsaw Ghetto uprising began on Passover eve, 1943.
Even as it was happening, some appear to have understood the Holocaust as a new chapter in the old biblical story of the Exodus: The uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto began, history books tell us, on Passover eve, April 1943.
The Passover holiday has certainly apprehended that history in hindsight. In their meditations on the God of freedom that delivered us from bondage in Egypt, modern-day Seders can hardly fail to measure freedom in relation to the paucity of it in 1943, nor can they fail to measure prejudice in relation to the scale of it then. (more…)
Shmuel Zygielbojm gave up his own life as a symbol of frustration at the Allies’ inaction in the face of the slaughter of the Jews.
Captured Jews being led by German troops to the assembly point for deportation following the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Photo by wikimedia
On May 12, 1943, Shmuel Zygielbojm, one of two Jewish members of the Polish government in exile in London, killed himself, in despair and in protest of the insufficient action being taken by the Allies to end the ongoing German campaign against European Jewry. His death came a few days after he received news that the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which had begun on April 19, 1943, had been successfully suppressed by the Germans, and that his wife, Manya, and son Tuvia, had been killed there. (more…)
The New York Times, April 14, 2013, By Topaz Adizes
April 15 marks the 68th anniversary of Branko Lustig’s liberation from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp when he was not quite 13 years old. In this Op-Doc video, we follow Mr. Lustig back to Poland to visit the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps (where he was also interned) and to celebrate the bar mitzvah he could never have as a young man.
Between these pivotal moments in his life, Mr. Lustig became one of the most accomplished producers in Hollywood. He won best picture Academy Awards for producing “Schindler’s List” and “Gladiator,” and also worked on Volker Schlöndorff’s epic German World War II tale “The Tin Drum” as well as “Sophie’s Choice,” “War and Remembrance” and “The Winds of War.”
The arc of Mr. Lustig’s life — from Holocaust survivor to Oscar winner — is one of remarkable triumph. While many people shy away from revisiting their personal traumas, Mr. Lustig — in his feature films and in my short documentary — has enabled us all to reflect upon them and, perhaps, come to terms with them.
Topaz Adizes is a New York-based filmmaker whose documentaries and narrative films have played at festivals including Cannes, Sundance, South by Southest and Cinéma du Réel. He is currently developing a narrative feature film, “Close Enough.”
View Clip about Academy Award Winner Branko Lustig’s return to Auschwitz on the March of the Living”: http://nyti.ms/159f7LG
The Museum of the History of the Polish Jews, set to open its permanent exhibition next year, celebrates Jewish life in Poland before the Holocaust and confronts Poles with its own dark chapters of anti-Semitism.
A monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters, across from the nearly finished Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland. Photo by AP
Almost nothing remains of the old Warsaw Ghetto: just a half-dozen buildings, a synagogue, some fragments of brick wall. The rest was blown up by the Germans in their onslaught against the Jews who took up arms against them.
Now this Holocaust-era prison of misery and death is undergoing a dramatic transformation in time for Friday’s anniversary of the start of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, a revolt that ended in death for most of the fighters yet gave the world an enduring symbol of resistance against the odds.
The change in this district of the capital and its place in Polish consciousness is embodied in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews that has risen up in a vast square in the heart of the vanished ghetto, ringed by Holocaust memorials and shabby communist-era apartment buildings.
It celebrates the Jewish life that flourished in Poland for centuries before the Holocaust, and dares to confront Poles with a truth many would once have strongly denied: that this country has had its own dark chapters of anti-Semitism. (more…)
The song was written and performed by Vadim Drezyin a participant in the 1988 March of the Living. The chorus of the song, “to live with honour and to die with honour…” was taken from the last letter of Emmanuel Ringleblum, the famous Jewish historian of the Warsaw Ghetto. He observed in these last words, that the spirit of those who resisted the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto, was to “live with honour and die with honour.
Ringleblum was murdered a week after he wrote those words.
‘We suffered so much in the Diaspora that we now have to celebrate our independence by singing and merriment,’ said Peretz ‘Pavel’ Hochman, who passed away only one week before he was to light a ceremonial torch at the Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem.
Peretz (on left) and his brother Zenek, outside the Warsaw ghetto.
Only one week before he was to light a ceremonial torch at the Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem, Peretz ‘Pavel’ Hochman, a survivor who fought the Nazis in Poland, passed away.
Hochman, who was to celebrate his 86th birthday in two weeks, was one of the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, whose exploits were recorded in the book “The Cigarette Sellers of Three Crosses Square”. (more…)
The Jewish Daily Forward, April 01, 2013, By, AJ Goldman
Meticulous Recreation of Forgotten World of Shtetl and Ghetto
Intricate Recreation: Boaz Pash, chief rabbi of Krakow, explains the symbols on the reconstructed roof of a 18th century wooden synagogue that once stood in the town of Gwozdziec. The meticulous model is a centerpiece of the new Jewish museum in Warsaw.
It is a painfully cold day as a light snow falls on the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and on its immediate neighbor, the monument to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
Inside the museum, nearly 100 workers are putting the finishing touches on the near-completed building. The undulating walls are painted a light, sandy color that gives the impression of Jerusalem Stone. The air is thick with paint and woodchips. Sparks fly from several corners.
I am being led through the dynamic structure to view the first object that has been installed in the museum: a magnificent re-creation of the timber-framed roof of the Gwozdziec Synagogue, painstakingly reconstructed using only original methods, tools and materials. Richly decorated with zodiac symbols, religious insignia and a plethora of real and mythological animals, the synagogue roof seems to augur well for the as-yet-unfinished museum, housed in the sleek edifice designed by Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma. (more…)
Dan Kanter, musical director and guitar player for Justin Bieber, made an emotional visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau earlier this week during Justin Bieber’s 2013 European Believe Tour stop in Poland.
The trip was organized by the March of the Living, an international educational institution dedicated to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and to combatting prejudice, intolerance and hate.
“I just walked from Auschwitz to Birkenau - It’s been very intense and emotional today,” the acclaimed guitarist said, after visiting the world’s largest and most notorious former death camp, where over 1 million innocent men, women and children – the vast majority Jews- were gassed to death, during the Nazi Holocaust. (more…)
Australian Jewish News, By Phoebe Roth, March 19, 2013
Businessman and philanthropist Frank Lowy. Photo: Henry Benjamin.
BUSINESSMAN, philanthropist and Holocaust survivor Frank Lowy will deliver a keynote address at this year’s March of the Living (MOTL), which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
The annual event, which is running for its 25th year, is set to bring more than 10,000 students, adults and survivors from around the world to Auschwitz-Birkenau on Yom Hashoah next month. (more…)