Kennedy Calls on American People to Commemorate Warsaw Ghetto Day

President Kennedy today issued a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, April 21, 1963, with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and commended Jewish heroism.

The President said that “of the more than 400, 000 Jews whom the Nazis had previously walled into the Warsaw Ghetto, only about 70, 000 remained in April of 1943. With deadly efficiency, most of the other inhabitants had been transported by the Nazis to concentration camps, and had there been exterminated. The surviving Jews, suffering from malnutrition and disease, with pitifully few weapons and virtually no hope of assistance from any source, determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible. They engaged the Nazis in battle.”

The President pointed out that “the result was known by the Jews to be foredoomed. Yet, though they lacked both military resources and a military tradition, they were able to conduct their struggle against the overwhelming forces of the Nazi occupiers for more than three weeks, thereby providing a chapter in the annals of human heroism, an inspiration to the peace-loving people of the world, and a warning to would-be oppressors which will long be remembered.”

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