25 May 2013

Warsaw Uprising: Boruch Spiegel Passes Away at 93

From our friends at the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO):

Most people probably know about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in January 1943, and how a relatively small number of armed Jewish resistance fighters held off Nazi attacks. Over time, as ammunition ran out and Nazi tactics became more extreme, the efforts petered out over about a month. The lesson to learned however was that only by having the means to fight, ergo being armed, was there at least a chance to be able to survive.

Genocide throughout history has only been successful following disarmament, thus removing the ability to fight on remotely equal terms and so have any means of self-defense. It is events such as this which highlight the reason for vigorously defending our innate rights protected by the Second Amendment.

What follows is an excerpt from a New York Times obituary about Boruch Spiegel, one of the very last survivors of the uprising. There is an index page on JPFO related to various items about or referencing the Ghetto Uprising, which are well worth checking out.

By Joseph Berger. Published: May 20th, 2013

Article Origin

Boruch Spiegel with his wife,
Chaike Belchatowska
Boruch Spiegel, one of the last surviving fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, in which a vastly outgunned band of 750 young Jews held off German soldiers for more than a month with crude arms and Molotov cocktails, died on May 9 in Montreal aged 93.

His death was confirmed by his son, Julius, a retired parks commissioner of Brooklyn. Mr. Spiegel lived in Montreal.

The Warsaw ghetto uprising has been regarded as the signal episode of resistance to the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum calls it the first armed urban rebellion in German-occupied Europe.

Spiegel age about 17

As a young man, Mr. Spiegel was active in the leftist Jewish Labor Bund, and when it became clear that the Germans were not just deporting Jews but systematically killing them in death camps like Treblinka, Bundists joined with other left-wing groups to form the Jewish Combat Organization, known by its Polish acronym ZOB.

In January 1943, when German soldiers entered the ghetto for another deportation — 300,000 Jews had already been sent to Treblinka or otherwise murdered in the summer of 1942 — ZOB fighters fought back for three days and killed or wounded several dozen Germans, seized weapons and forced the stunned Germans to retreat.

"We didn't have enough weapons, we didn't have enough bullets [emphasis added]," Mr. Spiegel once told an interviewer. "It was like fighting a well-equipped army with firecrackers."

In the early morning of April 19, the eve of Passover, a German force, equipped with tanks and artillery, tried again, surrounding the ghetto walls. Mr. Spiegel was on guard duty and, according to his son-in-law, Eugene Orenstein, a retired professor of Jewish history at McGill University, gave the signal to launch the uprising. The scattered ZOB fighters, joined by a right-wing Zionist counterpart, peppered the Germans from attics and underground bunkers, sending the Germans into retreat once more. Changing tactics, the Germans began using flamethrowers to burn down the ghetto house by house and smoke out those in hiding. On May 8, ZOB's headquarters, at 18 Mila Street, was destroyed. The group's commander, Mordechai Anielewicz, is believed to have taken his own life, but scattered resistance continued for several more weeks in what was now rubble.

Joseph Berger has been a reporter and editor with The New York Times for nearly three decades and currently writes articles about the neighborhoods and people of New York City.

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