Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Warsaw Uprising April 15 1944

From a source in our [Jewish] community
Today, April 15th, a special ceremony was held in the city of Warsaw, Poland. It was a memorial ceremony dedicated to those many Jews who fell in the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt on Pesach of 1944. Both the President of Poland and of Israel (Shimon Peres,) attended and both spoke. So did many others attend, including contingents from both the Polish and Israeli armies, and residents of Warsaw and of nearby Polish cities. There were also other Israeli, Polish, German and US diplomats and citizens of those countries including groups of visiting Israeli youths.  
The Warsaw Ghetto revolt occurred during the Pesach holiday time when a few thousand Jews, mostly unarmed, rose in revolt against the very well armed Nazi war machine. They knew that their chances of survival lay somewhere between zero and one out of ten to one out of twenty, yet they were willing to give their lives fighting against the anti-Semite Nazis who fought for Adolph Hitler and his fellow murderers. My father - or perhaps he is your grandfather, or great grandfather, Nathan, was born in Poland and he and his family left Poland in the early 1920's to settle in the United States. Most Polish Jews were not so fortunate. But even he, my father, lived through one pogrom, during World War One. I am also sure that we, the Weissman family, must have had distant relatives who remained in Poland and were murdered during the Holocaust. Chance are, if you are Jewish, you lost family there.
The local Polish non-Jewish population did very little to assist the Jewish rebels in the Warsaw Ghetto. At best a relatively few pistols were smuggled in to help the Jews in the ghetto - perhaps even a few, very few, rifles.  Mostly they fought using Molotov cocktails also known as gasoline bombs and some light weapons captured from German Army soldiers killed at the beginning of the revolt by the Jewish rebels - who knew they would most likely not survive the struggle and that even if they were captured by the Nazis they would be either be murdered right away or be sent to the extermination camps. The leader of the Jewish rebels was a young man by the name of Mordechai Anilevitch. His name is commemorated here in Israel at a place called "Yad Mordechai." (The"a" in Yad is pronounced like the "o" in odd.)
But, what does it have to do with us? Our relationships to events that occurred during WW 2 is quite distant you say ? How does it really affect us, you ask? It affects us no less than those who worked in Manhattan were affected by 9/11 . They too probably thought that anti-Semitism anti-Western-ism, (by Muslim jihadists) had nothing to do with them - yet they were wrong, very wrong - and some of them (those who worked in the Trade Center towers,) including non-Jews paid for their naivete - with their lives on Sept. 11. Looking the other way does not always protect us from those who have a goal of genocide and conquest.  Sometimes we have to listen to the words being spoken by those who openly express their hatred for us and take action to protect ourselves.
Hitler's allies are not all dead yet, many of them still survive and in fact, even after WW2 and Hitler's defeat - there were very serious pogroms in Poland against Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who had returned there to find their homes had been occupied by non-Jewish Poles. Today there are still Catholic clergymen who proclaim their anti-Semitism and express anti Semitism in public sermons.
Injustice and prejudice should be something we take always take notice of and actively oppose, history has shown us that too much is at stake to ignore hatreds danger.
Please pass this on in honor of those who died and in respect to protecting those of us who are still unwilling to come to terms with the dangers that face us today.

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