Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

WARSAW, Poland — U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken despatched a message Wednesday marking the anniversary in Poland of the 1943 Bialystok ghetto rebellion, saying it was an act of bravery that reaffirmed the dignity of Jews in the course of the Holocaust.

Blinken’s mom, Judith Pisar, the widow of one of many ghetto survivors, Samuel Pisar, the state secretary’s late stepfather, took half within the observances in Poland’s japanese metropolis of Bialystok. U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski additionally attended.

“I see it as considered one of numerous acts of resistance by Jews in ghettos and Nazi German focus camps throughout Europe to reject their dehumanization, to reaffirm their dignity,” Blinken mentioned in a prerecorded message.

It was an act “not of futility however of bravery,” he mentioned, although “survival was not on the playing cards” when the rebellion started on the evening of Aug. 16, 1943.

For its leaders, the revolt was to “decide how, not whether or not they would die,” Blinken mentioned.

The individuals, who included metropolis authorities and residents, honored the fighters and victims of the revolt, which was the second largest single act of Jewish resistance in opposition to the Nazi Germans, after the April 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Rebellion.

Each revolts had been brutally crushed and the survivors had been despatched to demise camps.

Earlier than the warfare, Jews constituted some 43% of Bialystok’s inhabitants of 100,000. An estimated 60,000 Jews had gone by the ghetto that occupying Nazi Germany had constructed within the metropolis, till the rebellion.

Historians estimate that not more than 200 Jews fled the ghetto, amongst them Samuel Pisar, who was 13 on the time. His total household perished within the Holocaust. Pisar died in 2015 in New York.

“As we lose an increasing number of survivors, the accountability to relay and grapple with the historical past passes to all of us,” Blinken mentioned, stressing that for Pisar, the phrases “by no means once more” weren’t sufficient of a safety in opposition to warfare and violence.

Throughout World Struggle II and the Nazi Germany’s occupation, Poland misplaced round 6 million of its 35 million residents. Half of the victims had been Jewish.

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