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Talking Memory program marking the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Sunday, May 21, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
The Ghetto Fighters’ House invites you to a special
Talking Memory program marking
the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Yigal Cohen, CEO Ghetto Fighters’ House
Julia Mackiewicz, Polish Institute in Tel Aviv
Round Table: Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in Israel
Tamar Herzberg – Yad Mordechai
Noam Leibman – Moreshet
Anat Bratman-Elhalel – Ghetto Fighters’ House
Dr. Avinoam Patt
The Battle of Warsaw’s Jews: The Afterlife of the Revolt
On April 23, 1943, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency delivered the news of the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt, relaying a report received in Stockholm the day before with the headline “Nazis Start Mass-Execution of Warsaw Jews on Passover; Victims Broadcast S.O.S.” The timing of the revolt, taking place as it did in the spring of 1943, the deadliest year of WWII for European Jewry, influenced the manner in which it was reported, interpreted, and understood. Through an examination of the ways in which the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was reported in April and May of 1943, we can begin to understand how and why the event was transformed into both a symbol of Jewish resistance, Jewish sacrifice, and Jewish martyrdom during and after World War II. Soon after the revolt was suppressed in May 1943, representatives from the Jewish Labor Bund in New York and the Zionist movement in the Yishuv began to dispute both the heroes of the revolt and its true political and ideological significance. While historians have generally seen the politicization of the revolt occurring after the war, with the first encounter of the survivors with their new homes, the polemics of 1944 between the Bund and the Labor Zionists (with the role of the Revisionists left out of early narratives) makes clear that within one year of the revolt, the battle for credit in Jewish public opinion meant the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was too great a symbol to relinquish to the political enemy. By the first anniversary after the Uprising (April 19, 1944) Jewish communities organized solemn commemorations in New York, London, Tel Aviv and elsewhere to recall Warsaw as a “fortress of freedom” and as the “Masada of Warsaw.” Responding to this politicization during the war, it was the surviving ghetto fighters themselves who would play a critical role in writing their own “three lines in history.”
This program is in partnership with the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv, Moreshet Holocaust & Research Center, Yad Mordechai Museum, Classrooms Without Borders, Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Center, and the Rabin Chair Forum at George Washington University.