WWII's Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - lessons on 80th-year commemoration

Iconic photo (colorized) of German soldiers shipping Jewish families from the
Warsaw Ghetto off to be murdered at the Treblinka Concentration Camp,  1943

80-years ago this month, y
oung Jewish slave-labor inmates of the Nazi-imposed ghetto in Warsaw, aware of their limited survival chances (and despite their limited access to weapons) rebelled for 29 days (beginning April 19-May 16, 1943) against the Nazi army deporting residents to the Treblinka death camp.

Though ultimately unsuccessful in preventing the Germans from entering the ghetto, the Jewish people's strategic and brave fighting showed that even amidst oppression, they could unite and fight back. The Uprising left a lasting legacy. It was the largest Jewish uprising in the Second World War and it inspired Jewish youth – in ghettos from Lvov to Będzin to Białystok, and in camps including Treblinka and Sobibor – to resist. It was an act of utmost courage – not least because the men and women fighting knew from the beginning that they had no hope of victory. They had been forced by the sheer inhumanity of the situation created by the occupying Germans to choose death in combat rather than in the camps.
Jews staved-off Nazis during Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

In this video interview at the Holocaust Musuem L.A., Rabbi Moshe Cohn, who heads Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies discusses the significance of the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Polish-born Jewish man, Ben Lesser, age 94, explains how in 1940, Polish Christians, (empowered by Germany's National Socialist Army) confiscated ordinary Jewish citizens' businesses, dispossessed them from their homes, stole their homes, and concentrated them in racial ghettos. Mr. Lesser explains how the Jewish ghettos (an overcrowded apartment district where lucky folks worked as slaves inside or outside the walls to avoid deportation to concentration and death camps) differed from today's socio-economic ghetto neighborhoods. Most Jewish people were deported as slaves to concentration camps - where they were labored (ususally to death), if they survived (unlike many women and children) being gassed to death upon arrival or shot and incinerated.

The Warsaw ghetto uprising was the very first civilian uprising in occupied Europe, and the largest act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. There were attempts at armed resistance in at least 100 other ghettos, and among Jewish partisans, who engaged in sabotage and guerilla warfare.

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