Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mordecai Anielewicz: Died May 8, 1943

Mordecai Anielewicz died May 8, 1943 in the final stages of the Warsaw Ghetto, whose defense he helped to organize. His exact date of birth and probably his exact religious feelings are unknown. But he’s a hero to anyone Jewish for leading the struggle against the Nazis, who elsewhere encountered so little opposition.

Here is an excerpt from a letter he wrote shortly before his death and the fall of the ghetto:
"It is impossible to put into words what we have been through. One thing is clear, what happened exceeded our boldest dreams. The Germans ran twice from the ghetto. One of our companies held out for 40 minutes and another for more than 6 hours. The mine set in the 'brushmakers' area exploded. Several of our companies attacked the dispersing Germans. Our losses in manpower are minimal. That is also an achievement. Y. [Yechiel] fell. He fell a hero, at the machine-gun. I feel that great things are happening and what we dared do is of great, enormous importance...."

"It is impossible to describe the conditions under which the Jews of the ghetto are now living. Only a few will be able to hold out. The remainder will die sooner or later. Their fate is decided. In almost all the hiding places in which thousands are concealing themselves it is not possible to light a candle for lack of air."

"...The dream of my life has risen to become fact. Self-defense in the ghetto will have been a reality. Jewish armed resistance and revenge are facts. I have been a witness to the magnificent, heroic fighting of Jewish men in battle." -- Letter of April 23, 1943

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