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4,000 Jews Expected in Warsaw for 45th Anniversary of Uprising

March 17, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Up to 4,000 Jews from some 20 countries are expected to converge on Warsaw during the third week of April for observance of the 45th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Zbigniew Unger, director of the Orbis Congress Bureau in Warsaw and a major organizer of the convocation, estimated during a recent visit here that Israel would send more than 1,000 delegates and that Jewish youth groups would send more than 1,500, including 300 from the United States and Canada.

Soviet Jews also have been invited, he said, and groups from Australia, Eastern Europe, South Africa and South America also will attend.

About 2,000 people attended the 40th anniversary commemoration in 1983.

The major events of the anniversary are planned for April 18 and 19, the Polish official said.

A monument paying tribute to the ghetto heroes, who killed hundreds of better-armed German troops over two months, will be dedicated. The monument is being completed at the site of the Umschlagplatz, where the Nazis put 300,000 Jews on trains bound for the Treblinka death camp.

At the commemoration, buses will take the visitors 90 miles north to Treblinka, where a vast plain now covers the bodies of the victims, for recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish.

The April 19 ceremonies will include the laying of wreaths at the Warsaw Ghetto Monument and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Jewish visitors and non-Jews.

Officials from the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem will honor more than 100 Polish citizens for risking their lives to aid Jews fleeing the Nazi forces.

Leaders of Poland and other nations will speak about the commemoration at the Congress Hall of the Palace of Culture and Science.

Polish Jewry numbered 3 million people before the Holocaust, and the community now comprises 5,000 to 10,000 Jews. Yet, the government sponsors the Warsaw Ghetto commemorations every five years and protects the remnants of Jewish life in Warsaw, Lublin and Krakow.

The Eastern bloc nation has sponsored a variety of activities for Jews over the past 10 years, according to Unger. The national government is the primary funding source for a weekly Jewish newspaper, the Yiddish State Theater, Jewish cultural societies in major cities, university courses in Hebrew, the rebuilding of synagogues and restoration of Jewish archives and a Jewish museum.

The citizens and municipality of Warsaw contributed funds for the ghetto memorial.

Kalman Sultanik, president of the Federation of Polish Jews, complimented “the government and people of Poland” for their “remarkable work in giving archives and memorabilia to Yad Vashem and other Israel institutions.”

He also referred to the Auschwitz Exhibit, a Polish-prepared examination of the notorious concentration camp. The exhibit is on tour in North America.

Sultanik complimented Poland for “having made great strides recently in forging warm and close ties between itself, the State of Israel, and our own American Jewish community.”

Other anniversary events planned include an International Youth Quiz on the “Struggle for Survival and the Martyrdom of the Jewish People during World War II”; nightly presentations by the Yiddish State Theater of “Songs of the Perished Nation”; and the Chamber Opera’s performance of “King of Atlantide,” which was written by a Jewish inmate of the Terezin death camp and is based on Hitler’s tyranny.

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