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The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising,April,1943:Last Surviving Commander Remembers

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Winchester 73, Apr 15, 2008.

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  1. Winchester 73

    Winchester 73 member

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    A small band of gutsy Jews showed the world what courage was all about.
    An example never to be forgotten.

    http://my.att.net/s/editorial.dll?p...rticle&render=y&ac=-2&ck=&ch=ne&rg=blsadstrgt

    Ex-leader recalls Warsaw Ghetto uprising
    Published: 4/15/08, 4:25 PM EDT
    By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA
    LODZ, Poland (AP) - Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the 1943 uprising in the Warsaw ghetto by a handful of scrappy, poorly armed Jews against the Nazi army, becomes emotional when he speaks of the fighters he led.

    "I remember them all - boys and girls - 220 altogether, not too many to remember their faces, their names," says the 89-year-old doctor, who still works in a Lodz hospital. Edelman will lay a wreath in their honor at the Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto on Saturday, the 65th anniversary of the uprising.

    The Nazis walled off the ghetto in November 1940, cramming 400,000 Jews from across Poland into a 760-acre section of the capital in inhuman conditions. On April 19, 1943, German troops started to liquidate the ghetto by sending tens of thousands of its residents to death camps.

    Several hundred young Jews took up arms in defense of the civilians - the first act of large-scale armed civilian resistance against the Germans in occupied Poland during World War II.

    "It was the first, most important and most spectacular" instance of Jewish armed resistance to the Nazi Holocaust, said Andrzej Zbikowski, head of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

    In an interview with The Associated Press, Edelman said the Nazis "wanted to destroy the people, and we fought to protect the people in the ghetto, to extend their life by a day or two or five."

    Then 24 years old, Edelman took command of one of the revolt's three groups. His fighters, between the ages of 13 and 22, scraped together guns and ammunition that they and the Polish resistance managed to smuggle in from the outside.

    His brigade included 50 fighters known as "brush men" because their base was a brush factory.

    "There weren't enough guns, ammunition. There was not enough food, but we were not starving. You can live for three weeks just on water and sugar," which they found in the homes of those deported to death camps, he said.

    They adopted hit-and-run tactics. With time, as supplies and forces began to run low, they resorted to attacks at night, for more safety.

    "Every moment was difficult. It was two or three or 10 boys fighting with an army," Edelman said. "There were no easy moments."

    But they were outnumbered and outgunned.

    "It lasted for three weeks, so this great German army could not cope so easily with those 220 boys and girls," he said with a grain of pride.

    The uprising ended when its main leaders - rounded up by the Nazis - committed suicide on May 8, 1943. The Nazis then burned down the ghetto, street by street.

    About 40 fighters escaped through Warsaw's sewers and joined the Polish partisans.

    "No one believed he would be saved," Edelman said. "We knew that the struggle was doomed, but it showed the world that there is resistance against the Nazis, that you can fight the Nazis."

    Edelman and a few others stayed in Warsaw to help coordinate and supply the Jewish resistance groups. Some fighters still live in Israel and Canada. Edelman is the last one in Poland.

    Despite the ghetto uprising's ultimate failure, "it was worth it," Edelman said. "Even at the price of the fighters' lives."

    After the war, Edelman chose to remain in Poland, becoming a social and a democratic activist, and guardian of the ghetto fighters' memory.

    "When you were responsible for the life of some 60,000 people, you don't leave and abandon the memory of them," he said.

    A service was held in Warsaw on Tuesday - to avoid conflicting with the Jewish sabbath - and drew a crowd of 1,000, including Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski, as well as U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Israeli and Polish flags fluttered in the afternoon breeze as Poland's chief orthodox rabbi, Michael Schudrich, read out the Kaddish, or Jewish prayer for the dead.

    Peres praised the young fighters, who he said displayed "a heroism that our children will proudly carry with them in their hearts."

    Edelman views the annual observances as "part of educating people and fighting genocide."

    He said people "have to be educated from childhood, from kindergarten, that there should be no hatred."

    "They have to be shown that all people are the same, that skin color, race, religion don't matter," he said. "We have only one life and we must not murder each other. We see the sun only once."
     
  2. Ian

    Ian Member

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  3. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    No wonder the leftist extremists want to disarm us: socialists always prefer easy targets and the least possible risk.
     
  4. Rachen

    Rachen member

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    How many Nazis were killed during the uprising? I hope it was a substantial number.

    And it is a lesson to the socialists who want to disarm us. Guns are only just one kind of weapon. There are lots of ways to FIGHT.

    And besides, the fact that the Nazis were carrying guns when they entered the ghetto means that these weapons would be distined for some of the resisters. It takes skill, but one with determination and courage will be able to disarm an enemy and take his weapon.
    That weapon can be used later to capture other weapons.

    Remember what Mike Vanderboegh said about the Liberty pistols in "How Can a Handgun Defeat An Army".
     
  5. Rachen

    Rachen member

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    Ian, what does the gray square mean?
     
  6. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

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    There's a good reason why this is the third most popular poster on volkstudio.

    [​IMG]

    I also get a lot inquiries about

    [​IMG]

    Fighting against long odds...still a good idea.
     
  7. markk

    markk Member

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    Great article. Thanks, Win73.
     
  8. eric.cartman

    eric.cartman Member

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    i'm from Poland.
    part of my family died there.

    my grand father has some chilling stories form WW2... that man pulled the trigger on nazis and soviets so many times it's scary.

    my ex-GF's grandfather once told me how they managed to get germans out of their bunkers... he said the trick was to get past the machine gun fire (no ****) and then get on top of the bunker where the chimney was. then he said, they would pump air through the bunker chimney REALLY fast, so force the soldiers out for lack of air. of course his friends were waiting with guns and grenades ready.

    one day when I was 19 he told me he prays we'll never experience such horrors. i laughed it off then. now, when i get older, i understand what he meant.
     
  9. eric.cartman

    eric.cartman Member

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    one more thing, to put something in perspective:

    combined US and British losses in WW2 were around 850,000 man.
    city of Warsaw alone lost over 1 million people.
    Warsaw uprising, 2 months, 200,000 dead in 2 months.
    My grand mother's brother went out one day to fight. Never came back.
     
  10. Kitchen_Duty

    Kitchen_Duty Member

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    I hope history will teach us to never have to face this ever again. I would be so happy if we never had to fire a round at anyone ever again but that doesn't mean we should take away the guns to do so! Excellent Article

    -Kitchen
     
  11. merk

    merk Member

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    Bump for a story that should never be forgotten.
     
  12. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Member

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    Nowhere remotely close to the ideal of being well armed from the start. It's one thing to try ambushing an occupying force, it's another to try fighting back against an annihilating force of tanks and infantry squads moving house-to-house. Against the latter you're pretty much SOL without heavy weaponry of the sort not easily obtained through battlefield pickups.
     
  13. Dienekes

    Dienekes Member

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    There is a fair amount of literature on the "fighting back" that did occur. The Warsaw Ghetto is the subject of a fairly recent DVD, "Uprising".

    It should be noted that this is precisely the kind of thing that the nation-state and its conventional armies are having the most trouble with, and will for a long time to come. A two-edged sword, but some governments should not be allowed to rest easily in the night.

    An armed populace is not to be taken lightly or coerced without consequences.
     
  14. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I believe that 3 German divisions ended up being tied down in Warsaw for the uprising, and casualites wer quite high among the Nazis.
     
  15. Ian

    Ian Member

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    I did some research on the Ghetto uprising for a paper (http://www.a-human-right.com/jewsfight.html), and among other things, I ran across a collection of German military reports on the Ghetto. They were suffering sporadic casualties in the ruins of the ghetto for a full fifteen months (!) after the uprising began; all the way into the summer of 1944.
     
  16. yokel

    yokel Member

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    I'm not trying to underestimate their valor and sacrifice, however, it was obviously a tragic case of far too little, too late.

    Being armed means nothing if you're not prepared to put your fate in your own hands and make the irrevocable decision to fight to the death in the defense of your liberty and sovereignty.

    The nonexistence of that level of ideological unity and commitment will ultimately doom us all.
     
  17. Cave Dweller

    Cave Dweller Member

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    Intended for various European resistance movements, the fp 45 liberator (flair pistol caliber 45) firing a single 45 acp shot (reloading involves ejecting your spent cartridge with a stick) and intended to be dropped to the resistance behind enemy lines, might have proved useful in acquiring enemy weapons had they actually been distributed. In the words of some wise old Indian I once heard quoted "any gun is a good gun"
     

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  18. bsf

    bsf Member

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    That is a fair number of people. I wonder what percentage participated in armed resistance.

    I saw that when it first ran on television in 2001. I found it interesting; though not entirely accurate.

    I would think being relocated, starved, denied health services, denied fresh water, basically stripped of human rights, and killed is probably not I what I would consider “good times”. My life is eaaasy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  19. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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  20. axeman_g

    axeman_g Member

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    El Tejon... my neighbor is a descendant of Slovakian Jews. Both his grandparents are passed now... they often spoke of the time period, the day to day trials of people under Nazi rule and then in the camps. The grandfather would speak of the humanity of the conscripted German soldiers, basically slaves themselves, but spoke in fear of the Dirlewanger Battle Group as he called them. I never heard of them before or since and had not thought about his statements in 30 years. Wow...
     
  21. 2nd 41

    2nd 41 Member

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    Thanks Winchester
     
  22. DKSuddeth

    DKSuddeth Member

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    I tried to use this episode as an example of why people should be armed and had several antis try to tell me that if they would have been unarmed, they would have lived longer and wouldn't have killed so many other germans. boggles the mind.
     
  23. HadEmAll

    HadEmAll Member

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    Leon Uris's novel Mila 18 is a riveting book about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
     
  24. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    You might also take a look at The Bravest Battle, by Daniel Kurzman. A good read about some very brave people caught up in tragic times. According to the book, there were actually mutiple, sometimes competing, factions of Jews fighting in the uprising. Also, getting any weapons at all was made even more difficult by some resistance groups outside the Ghetto that considered the Jews to be allies of the Soviets and were reluctant to help.
     
  25. Winchester 73

    Winchester 73 member

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    Thank you all for the fine comments.
    And special appreciation to Oleg Volk for the poster display ,and to Ian for the link to the monument for these hero's.
    We will never forget the men,women and children of Warsaw ,1943-1944.
     
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