Peres given haunting diary of Warsaw ghetto fighter
President receives diary of anonymous writer who conveys frightening picture of Warsaw Ghetto, deportation to Treblinka.
Jews being rounded up by Nazis during the Holocaus Photo: Courtesy
In April, Jews around the world and the Poles of Warsaw will mark the 70th
anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. On January 27, at the initiative of
the United Nations, many member states of the UN will hold special events in
line with International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Nearly seven decades
after the end of World War II, evidence of Nazi atrocities continues to come to
Sometimes the evidence has been available for a long time but has
laid undiscovered, as was the case with a rare diary that was presented to
President Shimon Peres on Thursday at a ceremony at Kibbutz Lochamei
Located on the coastal highway, between Acre and Nahariya,
Lohamei Hagetaot, which also contains a Holocaust museum, the Ghetto Fighters’
House, was founded in 1949 by Holocaust survivors who had been members of
partisan groups and other resistance movements against the Nazis.
them were survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising including Zvia Lubetkin, one
of the leading figures in the uprising, and her husband, Itzhak Zuckerman, who
had been the deputy commander of the ZOB (Jewish Combat Organization).
2001, their granddaughter Roni Zuckerman became the first woman to graduate from
the Israel Air Force pilot’s course.
Many documents in the archives of
Lochamei Hagetaot were not given immediate attention, possibly because nearly
all of them were written in languages other than Hebrew and the translating of
them has to be meticulous.
Among those which were not accorded immediate
attention were two diaries that were part of the collection of Adolph Abraham
Berman, who had been an underground fighter during the war, initially in the
ghetto and later on the Aryan side, and who after the war together with his
wife, Batya Temkin Berman, made it his mission to collect as much documentary
evidence as possible relating to the Holocaust years. The Bermans went through
many wanderings and in the 1970s found themselves in Israel and decided that
Lochamei Hagetaot was the most appropriate repository for their
It was only after several years had passed that Lochamei
Hagetaot began dealing with the Berman collection and discovered the
significance of two diaries, one written by a Jewish lawyer and another written
by a woman who had been a member of a Revisionist underground resistance group.
Each described the hell on earth conditions of life in the ghetto as well as the
fighting against the Nazis in the most vivid detail.
Passages from the
woman’s diary were read out during Thursday’s presentation ceremony.
diaries contain episodes of great courage on the part of those Jews, who knowing
that they were unlikely to survive, gathered whatever strength they had to
engage in face to face combat with the Nazis.
The writer of the diary
presented to Peres remains forever anonymous, although it is known that he was
born in April 1906, simply because he reflects a few days before his 37th
birthday on April 19, about what it means to look for the last time at a blue
sky. The writer of the 28-page diary was a lawyer who crossed from Bialystok to
Warsaw in 1939. His father and sister were killed in one of the major “actions”
and his mother perished while he was writing the diary, describing the tensions
in the area and the flying bullets.
The picture he conveys is
frightening. He was eventually taken to the Umschlagplatz (the German
“collection point” in the Warsaw Ghetto) where he was selected for deportation
His fate is unknown, but in all probability he was
murdered, because very few people survived Treblinka.
Treblinka in 2008, in the course of a state visit to Poland, and together with
Holocaust survivors and Polish dignitaries participated in the 65th anniversary
commemorating the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
At Kibbutz Lochamei Hagetaot on
Thursday, he met with some of few remaining survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising and expressed his revulsion at the bestiality of the Nazis and his
unwavering admiration for the unparalleled bravery of those Jews who fought
against all odds.
Two of the survivors who had been among the fighters,
and whom Peres had met previously, recounted their stories. Chavka Folman- Raban
and “Kazik” Simcha Rotem told the president about what they had
“In Poland, we dreamed of coming to the homeland not to build a
monument, but something living, so we built a kibbutz,” Folman- Raban said.