Adam Chandler: Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprisingtags: Holocaust, Poland, Tablet magazine, Warsaw, Adam Chandler
After a week of warm April weather, sunny afternoons and calm evenings, Friday morning in Warsaw was grey. An easily imaginable and heavy Polish grey: cold, windy, and threatening rain.
Like all anniversaries, the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising represented the interaction between history and the public marking of time. There were ceremonial sirens, church bells, military drums, and symbolic rifle fire, all of which echoed through the open plaza between Nathan Rapoport’s iconic monument to the ghetto fighters and the newly-minted Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The silences were tense and even the weather had conspired to project solemness.
Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz spoke of the Jewish fighters as people who may not have all been from Warsaw, but became citizens of Warsaw when they banded together. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski spoke of the Jewish fighters as members of the Jewish nation who were also Poles — two nations living together on Polish soul — and placed their resistance between the Polish resistances against the Nazis in September 1939 and the Warsaw Uprising of August 1944; Jews and Poles fought a common enemy during the war, as they had against the Czarists.
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