Friday, May 28, 2010

Jewish resistance fighters focus of Memorial

Editor's note: It's Friday, time yet again for another "Interesting Jewish Stories & Facts" (IJS&F) posting. Today we visit a memorial found in the heart of Warsaw, Poland.

Sculptor Nathan Rappaport captures both the horror of the Holocaust and the heroic efforts of resistance fighters in his larger-than-life monument to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

The ghetto, the largest created by the Nazis, sprawled across a dozen blocks in the heart of Warsaw and held an estimated 450,000 Jews in the early 1940s.

As conditions grew untenable and it became clear the Nazis were intent on slaughtering everyone in the area, a small band of resistance fighters grouped together to battle their tormentors. The uprising was doomed from the start.

The insurgents had few weapons and little training. They also had nothing to lose and managed to hold out against the fierce onslaught of battle-hardened troops for several weeks before the entire ghetto was destroyed.

A bronze relief dominates the memorial, between Karmelicka and Zamenhofa streets in what was once the heart of the city, focusing on a defiant image of Mordecai Anielewicz, the leader of the ghetto's Jewish Fighting Organization.

The back of the monument is filled with a melancholy image of a group of Jews being marched to their deaths by their Nazi captors.

HEROIC REMEMBRANCE: Mordecai Anielewicz and other members of the Jewish Fighting Organization (photo above) are the focus of this massive monument in the heart of modern-day Warsaw.

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