By Jeff French Segall
April 19th is the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, “when Jewish resistance fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto—many in their teens and twenties—launched a sustained guerrilla battle in response to a planned Nazi mass deportation to the death camps,” wrote a press release from the Congress for Jewish Culture, along with Friends of the Bund, Jewish Labor Committee, and Workers Circle.
“They fought without any attainable hope of victory, but with the goal that they would not die in silence,” the release continued. “Heroically, they managed to hold off the German army from April 19 to May 16. It was the largest single revolt by Jews during the Holocaust.”
When we reported on last year’s ceremony, the first held live after two years of pandemic-era restrictions, many readers expressed dismay that they hadn’t heard about it beforehand. This year we’re announcing well in advance that the commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising will be held on April 19, beginning at 3 p.m. It will take place at Der Shteyn (the stone), the plaque in the center of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial plaza, located at the south end of the Promenade at 83rd Street, overlooking the Hudson River.
Once intended to be the cornerstone for a future, more elaborate monument, the stone bears the inscription: “This Is the Site for the American Memorial to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Battle, April-May, 1943, and to the Six Million Jews of Europe Martyred in the Cause of Human Liberty.” Underneath the cornerstone is a scroll describing the defense of the Warsaw ghetto composed by Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog of Jerusalem…. Two bronze boxes containing soil from the Terezin and Sered concentration camps in Czechoslovakia were also placed under the cornerstone, according to the press release.
The upcoming program in Riverside Park, including music and readings, will feature Shifee Losacco (a soloist at Lincoln Center, [who] has appeared in numerous Yiddish theater productions as well as on Broadway, and is currently a soloist with The Peace of Heart Choir); Joanne Borts (appeared in Broadway’s Tony-winning Best Musical Once, as well as Fiddler on the Roof starring Topol); Dr. Michael “Menachem” Fox (author of the acclaimed memoir Becoming Ordinary: A Youth Born of the Holocaust, What I Kept, What I Let Go…); Irena Klepfisz (herself born in the Warsaw Ghetto and whose father was the first Jew to perish in the Uprising; just recently published her collected works titled Her Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems, 1971-2021); Marcel Kshensky (educator & son of Holocaust survivors and resistance activists); and many others.
Of course many UWSers will know about the Warsaw Ghetto and many other horrifying facts about The Holocaust.
BUT, the UWS is unique (in many ways) and various studies have shown that more than half of people outside our comfortable “bubble” either know nothing about that horror or deny its existence!
Several months ago PBS aired the three-part Ken Burns documentary “The U.S. and The Holocaust”. It is STILL AVAILABLE online: .
It’s not easy to watch, but definitely worthwhile.
It’s a great documentary series and should be required viewing in schools, but no doubt, given the likes of DeSantis and his ilk, it will be one of those things that will make kids “feel bad,” and therefore will be banned. Deplorable.
“They fought without any attainable hope of victory, but with the goal that they would not die in silence,”
Thanks for the heads-up WSR!
I was fortunate enough to escape the Nazis in Vienna on a Kindertransport when I was six. I wish that I were physically able to attend the ceremony commemorating the brave people of Warsaw.
I would love for you to be able to go. If you need a wheelchair or any other accommodation, I can figure something out so that you can attend. I went to this ceremony last year and it was quite moving. Let’s make this happen. I hope to have the honor of meeting you on Wednesday. You can email me back at email@example.com.
If there is anything I can do to help you get there, please let me know. I live on the Upper West Side and would be delighted to escort you.
The event will be recorded and made available on YouTube.
Madame, if I lived in NYC I would get you there , one way or another
Please check the concentration camp name/spelling above. Is Erezin actually Terezin? Thanks for correcting it, if so.
The misspelling has been corrected. Thank you for bringing it to our attention