Boruch Spiegel, one of the last surviving fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, died on May 9 in Montreal at the age of 93, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The uprising became a symbol of the greatest Jewish resistance to the Holocaust. As stories of the extermination camps reached the Jews imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto, a large group there decided to launch a struggle against the Nazis.
When German troops entered the ghetto on Passover eve to round up its inhabitants, members of the Jewish underground groups opened fire from rooftops and windows of the ghetto houses in a planned resistance. The Germans suffered heavy losses and were forced to retreat.
“We didn’t have enough weapons, we didn’t have enough bullets,” The Times
quoted Mr. Spiegel as once telling an interviewer. “It was like fighting a well-equipped army with firecrackers.”
According to Spiegel's son-in-law, he was on guard duty an gave the signal to launch the uprising in the early morning of April 19, the eve of Passover.The Times
reports that Spiegel and some 60 or so other fighters escaped from the ghetto through the sewers.
In 1948, according to The Times
, he and his wife and son went to Montreal, where Spiegel took up his father’s leather craft, establishing his own factory.
In 2003, on the uprising’s 60th anniversary, Spiegel and the five other living members of the Jewish Combat Organization, known by its Polish acronym ZOB, were honored by the Polish government. The Times
quoted Dr. Orenstein as saying there were only two fighters left, Pnina Greenspan and Simcha Rotem, both in Israel.