Mordechaj Anielewicz
Overview
 
Mordechaj Anielewicz was the leader of Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa
Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa
The Jewish Combat Organization was a World War II resistance movement, which was instrumental in engineering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. ŻOB took part in a number of other resistance activities as well...

 (Jewish Combat Organization), also known as ŻOB, during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German occupied Poland during World War II, and which opposed Nazi Germany's effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp....

 from January to May 1943.
Anielewicz was born into a poor family in the small town of Wyszków
Wyszków
Wyszków is a town in northeastern Poland with 26,500 inhabitants . It is the capital of Wyszków County . Wyszków is situated in the Masovian Voivodeship ; previously it was in Warsaw Voivodeship and Ostrołęka Voivodeship .-Description:The village of Wyszków was first documented in 1203. The town...

 near Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

. After he completed his high school studies, he joined and became a leader of the "Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair is a Socialist–Zionist youth movement founded in 1913 in Galicia, Austria-Hungary, and was also the name of the group's political party in the Yishuv in the pre-1948 British Mandate of Palestine...

", the Zionist
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

-socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 youth movement
Zionist youth movement
A Zionist youth movement is an organization formed for Jewish children and adolescents for educational, social, and ideological development, including a belief in Jewish nationalism as represented in the State of Israel...

.

On 7 September 1939, a week after the German invasion of Poland
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

, Anielewicz escaped with a group from Warsaw to the east of the country in the hopes that the Polish Army would slow down the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 advance.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Mordechaj Anielewicz was the leader of Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa
Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa
The Jewish Combat Organization was a World War II resistance movement, which was instrumental in engineering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. ŻOB took part in a number of other resistance activities as well...

 (Jewish Combat Organization), also known as ŻOB, during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German occupied Poland during World War II, and which opposed Nazi Germany's effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp....

 from January to May 1943.

Biography

Anielewicz was born into a poor family in the small town of Wyszków
Wyszków
Wyszków is a town in northeastern Poland with 26,500 inhabitants . It is the capital of Wyszków County . Wyszków is situated in the Masovian Voivodeship ; previously it was in Warsaw Voivodeship and Ostrołęka Voivodeship .-Description:The village of Wyszków was first documented in 1203. The town...

 near Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

. After he completed his high school studies, he joined and became a leader of the "Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair is a Socialist–Zionist youth movement founded in 1913 in Galicia, Austria-Hungary, and was also the name of the group's political party in the Yishuv in the pre-1948 British Mandate of Palestine...

", the Zionist
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

-socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 youth movement
Zionist youth movement
A Zionist youth movement is an organization formed for Jewish children and adolescents for educational, social, and ideological development, including a belief in Jewish nationalism as represented in the State of Israel...

.

On 7 September 1939, a week after the German invasion of Poland
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

, Anielewicz escaped with a group from Warsaw to the east of the country in the hopes that the Polish Army would slow down the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 advance. When the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 invaded and then occupied Eastern Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Anielewicz heard that Jewish refugees, other youth movement members and political groups had flocked to Vilna
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, which was then under Soviet control. He travelled to Vilna and attempted to convince his colleagues to send people back to Poland to continue the fight against the Germans. He then attempted to cross the Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n border in order to open a route for young Jews to get to the Mandate of Palestine, but was caught and thrown into a Soviet jail. He was released a short time later, and returned to Warsaw in January 1940 with his girlfriend, Mira Fuchrer.

In the summer of 1942 Anielewicz visited the southwest region of Poland – annexed
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 to Germany – attempting to organize armed resistance. Upon his return to Warsaw, he found that a major deportation to the Treblinka extermination camp
Treblinka extermination camp
Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp in occupied Poland during World War II near the village of Treblinka in the modern-day Masovian Voivodeship of Poland. The camp, which was constructed as part of Operation Reinhard, operated between and ,. During this time, approximately 850,000 men, women...

 had been carried out and only 60,000 of the Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all Jewish Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established in the Polish capital between October and November 15, 1940, in the territory of General Government of the German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity...

's 350,000 Jews remained. He soon joined the ŻOB, and in November 1942 he was appointed as the group's chief commander. A connection with the Polish government in exile
Polish government in Exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 was made and the group began receiving weapons from the Polish underground on the "Aryan
Aryan race
The Aryan race is a concept historically influential in Western culture in the period of the late 19th century and early 20th century. It derives from the idea that the original speakers of the Indo-European languages and their descendants up to the present day constitute a distinctive race or...

" side of the city. On 18 January 1943, Anielewicz was instrumental in the first act of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German occupied Poland during World War II, and which opposed Nazi Germany's effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp....

, preventing the majority of a second wave of Jews from being deported to extermination camps. This initial incident of armed resistance was a prelude to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German occupied Poland during World War II, and which opposed Nazi Germany's effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp....

 that commenced on 19 April.

Though there were no surviving eyewitnesses, it is assumed that he took his own life on 8 May 1943, along with his girlfriend and many of his staff, in a mass suicide
Mass suicide
- Examples :Mass suicide sometimes occurs in religious or cultic settings. Defeated groups may resort to mass suicide rather than being captured. Suicide pacts are a form of mass suicide unconnected to cults or war that are sometimes planned or carried out by small groups of frustrated people...

 at the surrounded ŻOB command post at 18 Miła Street. His body was never found and it is generally believed that it was carried off to nearby crematoria along with those of all the other Jewish dead; nevertheless, the inscription on the memorial at the site of the Miła 18 bunker states that he is buried there.

Honors

In July 1944 Anielewicz was posthumously awarded the Cross of Valour by the Polish government in exile. In 1945 he was also awarded the Cross of Grunwald
Cross of Grunwald
Order Krzyża Grunwaldu 1943-1960, Krzyż Grunwaldu 1960-1992 was a military decoration created in November 1943 by the High Command of Gwardia Ludowa, a World War II Polish resistance movement in Poland organised by the Polish Workers Party...

, 3rd Class by the Polish People's Army.

During the later part of the war a unit of the People's Guard
People's Guard
People's Guard can mean:* the Gwardia Ludowa, a communist armed organisation in Poland during World War II, organised by the Soviet-created Polish Workers Party* the People's Guard , part of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya...

 formed from Warsaw Ghetto survivors bore the name of Anielewicz. In December 1943 kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

 Yad Mordechai
Yad Mordechai
Yad Mordechai is a kibbutz in southern Israel. Located 10 km south of Ashkelon, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 710.-History:...

 in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 was renamed after him and had a monument erected in his memory. There are also memorials for him in Wyszków and in Warsaw, where in the 1960s Gęsia Street, site of a former German concentration camp
Gesiówka
Gęsiówka , was a Nazi concentration camp in Warsaw, Poland.- History of Gęsiówka :Before the war, Gęsiówka was a military prison of the Polish Army on Gęsia Street . Beginning in 1939, after the German occupation of Poland, it became a re-education camp of the German security police...

, was renamed Mordechaj Anielewicz Street. In 1983, 40 years after their deaths, the Israeli government issued a two-stamp set honoring Anielewicz and Josef Glazman as heroes of the Warsaw and Vilna
Vilna Ghetto
The Vilna Ghetto or Vilnius Ghetto was a Jewish ghetto established by Nazi Germany in the city of Vilnius in the occupied Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic , during the Holocaust in World War II...

 ghettos.

In popular culture

The actor Murray Salem
Murray Salem
Murray Salem was an American television actor and screenwriter.He appeared in a number of television shows as an actor, including the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth...

 played Anielewicz in the 1978 television miniseries Holocaust, while Hank Azaria
Hank Azaria
Henry Albert "Hank" Azaria is an American film, television and stage actor, director, voice actor, and comedian. He is noted for being one of the principal voice actors on the animated television series The Simpsons , on which he performs the voices of Moe Szyslak, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Chief...

 played the role in the 2001 television film Uprising. Anielewicz is also a key figure in Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledove
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

's alternate history
Alternate history (fiction)
Alternate history or alternative history is a genre of fiction consisting of stories that are set in worlds in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world. It can be variously seen as a sub-genre of literary fiction, science fiction, and historical fiction; different alternate...

 series Worldwar
Worldwar
Worldwar is a series of novels by Harry Turtledove whose premise is an alien invasion of Earth in the middle of World War II. The military invasion begins on or around May 30, 1942, but the aliens, who call themselves the Race, reached Earth orbit in December 1941...

and appears as a character in the Highlander 1997 novel Zealot. In the role-playing game
Role-playing game
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

 Wraith: The Oblivion
Wraith: The Oblivion
Wraith: The Oblivion is a role-playing game set in the afterlife of White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness. In the game, players take on characters who are recently dead and are now ghosts...

, he is the de-facto leader of the Shadowlands version of the Warsaw Ghetto. In Leon Uris's 1961 novel Mila 18
Mila 18
Mila 18 is a novel by Leon Uris set in German-occupied Warsaw, Poland before and during World War II. Leon Uris's work, based on real events, covers the Nazi occupation of Poland and the atrocities of systematically dehumanising and eliminating the Jewish People of Poland...

, the protagonist Andrei Androfsky is modeled on Anielewicz.

Sources

  • Edelman, Marek
    Marek Edelman
    Marek Edelman was a Jewish-Polish political and social activist and cardiologist.Before World War II, he was a General Jewish Labour Bund activist. During the war he co-founded the Jewish Combat Organization. He took part in the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, becoming its leader after the death of...

    , and Krall, Hanna. Shielding the Flame: An Intimate Conversation With Dr. Marek Edelman, the Last Surviving Leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1986
  • Zuckerman, Yitzhak, A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (A Centennial Book), ISBN 0-520-07841-1

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK