Sunday, 21 April 2013

Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto and a " Conviction" Politician.

Last Friday saw the 70th Anniversary if the Warsaw Ghetto uprising 19 April 1943 – 16 May 1943  against  German Nazi forces in the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

The mournful sound of sirens  marked the start of state ceremonies that were led by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski at the iconic Monument to the Ghetto Heroes. The president was joined by officials from Poland, Israel and elsewhere as well as a survivor of the fighting, Simha Rotem, to honor the first large-scale rebellion against the Germans during World War II.

About 750 Jews with few arms and no military training made their opening attack on April 19, 1943, on a much larger and well-equipped German force. The attack came after most of the nearly half a million inhabitants of the ghetto had already been sent to die at Treblinka.

The insurgency came when it was clear the Nazis were about to send the remaining residents of the ghetto to die too. The revolt was crushed the following month, and the ghetto was razed to the ground, most of its residents killed.

13,000 Jews were killed in the ghetto during the uprising (some 6,000 among them were burnt alive or died from smoke inhalation). Of the remaining 50,000 residents, most were captured and shipped to concentration and extermination camps, in particular to Treblinka.

We must never forget the Courage of those who fought in this uprising and the brutality and inhumanity of the Nazi s.Which can be summed up by the Commanders Jürgen Stroop's internal SS daily report .

"180 Jews, bandits and sub-humans, were destroyed. The former Jewish quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence. The large-scale action was terminated at 20:15 hours by blowing up the Warsaw Synagogue. ... Total number of Jews dealt with 56,065, including both Jews caught and Jews whose extermination can be proved. ... Apart from 8 buildings (police barracks, hospital, and accommodations for housing working-parties) the former Ghetto is completely destroyed. Only the dividing walls are left standing where no explosions were carried out

However we must remember a single act that showed us that humanity stil  remains.

On December 7, 1970, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt travelled to Warsaw, Poland on a state visit meant to improve relations with Poland and the USSR. On that day, Brandt attended a commemoration of the Jewish victims of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943. Although it had been decades since the historic uprising and the end of the Holocaust, Brandt was aware of the importance of this official state visit. He would later describe his thoughts leading up to the event:
An unusual burden accompanied me on my way to Warsaw. Nowhere else had a people suffered as in Poland. The machine-like annihilation of Polish Jewry represented a heightening of bloodthirstiness that no one had held possible. On my way to Warsaw [I carried with me] the memory of the fight to the death of the Warsaw ghetto.
Filled with emotion on the day of the ceremony, and taken by the enormity of the moment, Brandt spontaneously dropped to his knees before the commemoration monument, a profound act of apology and repentance.  Although he spoke no words, the image of this silent apology, seen in the news by so many Poles and Germans, had a powerful effect on both nations. Later, when Brandt described the moment, he wrote that he felt as though he "had to do something to express the particularity of the commemoration at the ghetto monument. On the abyss of German history and carrying the burden of the millions who were murdered, I did what people do when words fail them."

Bradt had fought the Nazi's and fled Germany when they come to power the Guilt was not his but he took on his shoulders. Iin w a week when we buried a so called conviction politician perhaps we should look at a man of true conviction and humanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment