April 19, 2020


The IRWF pays tribute to the martyrs and heroes who took part in one of the most heroic revolts in history

Photo Credit: USHMM

The Warsaw Ghetto uprising started on April 19th, 1943, exactly 77 years ago, as a result of the cruel oppression suffered by the Jews under the Nazi occupation.

Warsaw had the largest ghetto in Europe, with some half a million Jews imprisoned behind its walls.

During the months of the previous summer, in 1942, more than 300,000 Jews were deported to their death in Treblinka, in what was called the “Great Aktion”.

Following this deportation campaign, a number of Jewish underground organizations set-up a self-defense combat unit known as the Jewish Combat Organization or ZOB (based on its Polish name) which was headed by Mordecai Anielewicz. The Revisionist Party (known as Betar) established another military arm known as the Jewish Military Union, or ZZW.

The battle was lopsided. The underground fighters had pistols and hand-grenades whilst the occupiers had armored vehicles, tanks and heavy weapons.

Despite their inferiority, both the ZOB and the ZZW joined forces and put-up a heroic resistance against the besieging Nazi army which eventually managed to crush the revolt 4 weeks later, on May 16, 1943.

The IRWF pays tribute to all the martyrs and heroes of this rebellion. In more than a sense, they share the same spirit as the rescues of victims of the Holocaust. They were aware they could not save their lives, but nonetheless had put-up a fight for their human dignity.

In a joint statement, the Chairman of the Board of the IRWF, Eduardo Eurnekian, and the Founder of the NGO, Baruch Tenembaum, said:

“It is our duty to remember the brave women and men who took part in this heroic rebellion against pure evil. Through their actions, they bequeathed to future generations the noblest values of civic courage. Together with the rescuers of victims of the Holocaust, they represent the shining face of one of the darkest chapters of human history”