Poland Commemorates Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Amid Pandemic

Poland on Sunday commemorated the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising, replacing its annual official ceremonies with low-key gatherings on site or online as the coronavirus pandemic prevented any big events, AFP reported.

Wearing a protective mask, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, recited a prayer at the monument dedicated to the uprising in front of a few dozen people who observed social distancing rules before laying a wreath.

April 19 commemorates the day in 1943 when Jewish partisans began a violent resistance against police and SS auxiliary troops who planned to deport the Jews in the ghetto to concentration camps.

Their revolt, which the partisans knew was doomed but allowed them to die fighting rather than in gas chambers, bogged down the German advance into the ghetto by several weeks.

The main part of the revolt lasted 10 days but it was only definitively ended almost a month later on May 16 when the Nazis demolished the Great Synagogue of Warsaw.

An estimated 13,000 Jews were killed in the ghetto during the uprising. It was the largest single act of Jewish resistance against Nazi Germany.

Simcha Rotem, the last surviving fighter from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, died in Israel at the age of 94 in later 2018. He was publicly honored by the city of Warsaw several days later.

On Sunday sirens went off in Warsaw at midday, like every year, honoring the rebellion.

In the streets, there was no distribution of daffodils which Warsaw residents usually pin to their clothes to mark the day, and which resemble the yellow badges Jews were ordered to wear by Nazi Germany.

Instead, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews published a template online inviting Poles to use it to make their own yellow flowers out of cardboard and post their picture wearing it on social networks — a call that was widely followed.

The museum is also planning to re-broadcast online conferences, documentaries, ceremonies and artistic events linked to the anniversary.

Source material can be found at this site.

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