During war, especially when one is forced to live under the thumb of an enemy invading army, its easy to give in and give up.
Its difficult, dangerous and potentially life threatening to fight against this enemy invading army. But for some, it is the only thing they can do.
In 1943, as the Nazis were getting ready to “liquidate” the surviving Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Their destination was the death camps and concentration camps. Yesterday was the 77th anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
For nearly a month, Jewish fighters held out against their captors using whatever tools they had at their disposal. Though few survived the battle and even fewer survived the war, their legacy lives on. They knew that they had no chance of winning, but even the smallest dent in the fight for life and freedom was worth the cost.
77 years later, we remember the martyrs. We remember their bravery and their courage in the face of unspeakable horrors.
Tomorrow is Yom Hashoah. We remember the millions of lives lost and honor those who survived. Though we are facing a worldwide pandemic via Covid-19, the lessons from the Holocaust are as relevant today as they were nearly 80 years ago.
The museum is emotionally heavy, as is the story of uprising. Neither dances around The Holocaust. It is in your face, as it should be. It is a reminder of the duality of human beings: how on one hand, we can see past labels and see another person as they are. On the other hand, it is also incredibly easy to judge a person based on that same label and devalue them to the point of murder and destruction.
If nothing else, The Holocaust is a reminder that we are each other’s keepers. It is up to us to remember what hate can do to a person and how beyond important it is to see someone else as a human being before judging them based on factors such as skin color, race or religion.
On a personal note, I found Dobromil on a list of communities desecrated during The Holocaust. Dobromil is one of the shtetls my ancestors called home.
The 2001 television movie, Uprising, is the story of the fight by the ghetto’s inhabitants against their oppressors. Starring David Schwimmer, Hank Azaria and Leelee Sobieski, the narrative tells the story of how Jews, crammed into the old slum of Warsaw, fought back against the Nazis for a month in 1943.
I think that this movie is important to watch. It’s important because not only does it dispel the myth that Europe’s Jews were mere lambs to the Nazi slaughter, it also is the story of how a small band of people can fight against tyranny, prejudice and murder.