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US state secretary says 1943 Bialystok ghetto rebellion in Poland was an act of bravery and dignity

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WARSAW, Poland — U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken despatched a message Wednesday marking the anniversary in Poland of the 1943 Bialystok ghetto rebellion, saying it was an act of “bravery” that reaffirmed the dignity of Jews through the Holocaust.

Blinken’s mom, Judith Pisar, the widow of one of many ghetto survivors, Samuel Pisar, the state secretary’s late stepfather, took half within the observances in Poland’s jap metropolis of Bialystok. U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski additionally attended.

“I see it as one among numerous acts of resistance by Jews in ghettos and Nazi German focus camps throughout Europe to reject their dehumanization, to reaffirm their dignity,” Blinken mentioned in a prerecorded message.

It was an act “not of futility however of bravery,” he mentioned, regardless that “survival was not on the playing cards” when the rebellion started on the evening of Aug. 16, 1943.

For its leaders, the revolt was to “decide how, not whether or not they would die,” Blinken mentioned.

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The individuals, who included metropolis authorities and residents, honored the fighters and victims of the revolt, which was the second largest single act of Jewish resistance in opposition to the Nazi Germans, after the April 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Rebellion.

Each revolts had been brutally crushed and the survivors had been despatched to dying camps.

Earlier than the battle, Jews constituted some 43% of Bialystok’s inhabitants of 100,000. An estimated 60,000 Jews had gone by way of the ghetto that occupying Nazi Germany had constructed within the metropolis, till the rebellion.

Historians estimate that not more than 200 Jews fled the ghetto, amongst them Samuel Pisar, who was 13 on the time. His total household perished within the Holocaust. Pisar died in 2015 in New York.

“As we lose an increasing number of survivors, the accountability to relay and grapple with the historical past passes to all of us,” Blinken mentioned, stressing that for Pisar, the phrases “by no means once more” weren’t sufficient of a safety in opposition to battle and violence.

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