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A Leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Refuses to Join Official Polish Commemoration of the Event

March 17, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Marek Edelman, the only surviving leader of ZOB (Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa — Jewish Fighting Organization) and deputy commander of the Warsaw Ghetta uprising, has refused to join the Honorary Committee to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the uprising next month in Warsaw because of its official Polish government sponsorship.

The Jewish Labor Committee and the Committee in Support of Solidarity simultaneously released here today a copy of an open letter that Edelman sent to the underground Solidarity newspaper, Informacja Solidamosci Region Mazowsze (Solidarity Information, Warsaw Region), which was published February 22. A translation of that letter has just been made available.

Edelman, a noted physician, member of the Lodz Region Executive Commission of Solidarity and a delegate to the First National Congress of Solidarity in Gdansk in September 1981, was briefly interned by the Jaruzelski regime when martial law was imposed in Poland on December 13, 1981.


Following is the translation of the full text of Edelman’s letter:

“I was invited to join the Honorary Committee to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. I wish to explain why I refused. Forty years ago we did not fight merely to survive — we fought for life in dignity and freedom.

“To celebrate our anniversary here, where enslavement and humiliation is now the lot of the whole society, where words and gestures have become nothing but lies, would betray the spirit of our struggle. It would mean participating in something entirely to the contrary, it would be a cynical act of contempt.

“I shall not be a party to this, nor will I accept the participation of others, regardless of where they come from, whatever their credentials.

“The true memory of the victims and heroes, of the eternal human striving for truth and freedom, will be preserved in the silence of graves and of hearts — afar from manipulative ceremonies.”

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