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First Anniversary of Battle of Warsaw Ghetto Commemorated; State Dept. Lauds Heroes

April 13, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The uprising of the Jewish people in the Warsaw ghetto, in Nazi-held Poland, which began on April 19 a year ago and was not totally suppressed until late in May, was observed here today at a mass-meeting in the Capitol Hotel arranged by the American Representation of the General Jewish Workers’ Union of Poland.

Messages lauding the heroic Jewish resistance to the German forces were sent to the meeting by the State Department, under the signature of Adolf A. Berle, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State, Governor Thomas L. Dewey, Mayor LaGuardia, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Arthur Hays Sulzberger and many prominent Americans.

“No finer page has been written in the long history of the Jews than the battle waged by unarmed men, women and children against the brutal Nazi murderers,” the message of the State Department said. “They have provided an inspiring example to all who, believing in liberty and the dignity of the human soul, prefer an honorable death to slavery. Their sacrifice shall not have been in vain. For the heroic defenders of the Warsaw ghetto have strengthened the spirit of free peoples resolved upon the extinction of Nazi tyranny and the liberation of all oppressed peoples.”

The anniversary of the battle of the Warsaw Ghetto will be observed by Jews throughout the United States on April 19 with memorial meetings and with special prayers. In New York, a mass-meeting will be held in Carnegie Hall addressed by prominent Jewish leaders. Jewish workers will stop work for ten minutes in honor of the heroes and martyrs of Warsaw.


Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president of the American Jewish Committee, in a statement issued today emphasized that “in all the heroism of this world-wide war, no single act compares with the valor of the starving, downtrodden Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto.” His statement reads:

“April 19, 1943, is a date that will long be remembered in Jewish annals. It commemorates the day when thirty-five thousand Jews – men, women and children – rose in righteous wrath against the despoiler. Thirty-five thousand Warsaw Jews, the remnant of the greatest Jewish community in continental Europe, entered into a suicide pact. Though resistance was futile, though it spelled inevitable death, these heroic Jews chose to die fighting. They chose to sacrifice their lives upon the alter of the battle against totalitarianism; they chose to sell their lives dearly at a price that would cost the Nazis thousands of their soldiers and hundreds of Warsaw’s industrial plants.

“In all the heroism of this worldwide war, no single act compares with the valor of the starving, downtrodden Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto. For thirty-seven days from April 19th to May 26th, this group of Jews fought the Nazis, fought them, until they had no more ammunition, no more strength, – fought them, until they died. Those Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto fought and died for their homes, for the land of their nativity. Although theirs had not always been the happiest lot, although Poland was all too often susceptible to anti-Semitic hate, these Jews fought to the death an aggressor who had ravished their land.

“Those Jews fought and died in the Warsaw Ghetto, fought as Poles just as their brothers in the United States, Great Britain, Russia and Jews of all other nationalities are fighting side by side with their Christian brothers against the Axis Powers. The battle of the Warsaw Jews, their hopeless battle, must ever be an inspiration to

us all. It is appropriate that we who live commemorate their valor on the anniversary of their battle to the death. It is fitting that the traditional Hebrew prayer for the dead, El Mole Rachamin, be said for those who died that freedom may live,” the statement concludes.

The anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto resistance to the Nazis a year ago will be observed as a day of Prayer and Sorrow in American synagogues on April 19th, it was announced by the Synagogue Council of America. The Synagogue Council of America has proclaimed the observance of the day in cooperation with the American Jewish Conference which has called for the nationwide commemoration of the battle of the Warsaw Ghetto. Special prayers and devotions have been prepared by the Synagogue Council and sent to religious leaders of American Jewry for use at the convocations.

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