Friday, October 02, 2009

Another chapter closes

The world lost a piece of history today. Marek Edelman, the last living leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, died at age 90. Edelman was 23 when he, along with ZOB comrades Mordechai Anielewicz, Yitzhak Zuckerman, Zivia Lubetkin, Simcha Rotem and others (as well as the Revisionist-oriented ZZW) led a revolt against the Nazi forces that held out for five weeks-- longer than the entire Polish army had against the initial German invasion.

Edelman always fascinated me for his iconoclasm. While most of the ZOB leadership were left-wing Zionists ideologically allied with Hashomer Hatzair (survivors Zuckerman and Lubetkin were involved in the Brichah and later went to Israel), Edelman was a member of the Bund (he broke ranks with them to work with the ZOB), later following his socialist convictions by staying in Poland for the rest of his life, where he practiced medicine. Edelman was active in Polish politics for decades, first participating in the Polish Warsaw Uprising of '44, then working with Solidarity and serving in Polish Parliament.

While every other member of the ZOB has been enshrined in mainstream Jewish memory as good, conventional, dedicated Zionists-- continuing the theme that the only smart, tough, fighting Jews are either in, or associated with, Israel, Edelman was the fly in the ointment, showing that tough Jews did not all think alike, and were not all convinced, even after the Warsaw Ghetto, that Poland and the Diaspora were irrelevant to the Jewish experience.

My respects to Edelman's memory and to his family. He was a true hero, showing us all both how to have the courage to fight for our right to exist, and to live according to our own values, regardless of others' thoughts or opinions.

1 comment:

Dan - Israeli Uncensored News said...

Maybe Poland has indeed became irrelevant after the Ghetto? Simply, there are almost no Jews left there.