PM meets ‘last survivor’ of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Netanyahu and five ministers to hold talks with Polish counterparts.

June 9, 2013 23:39
1 minute read.
SIMCHA ROTEM (Kazik), the last survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

SIMCHA ROTEM (Kazik), the last survivor Warsaw uprising 370. (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)

Three days before traveling to Poland for a governmentto- government meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Sunday with Simcha Rotem (Kazik), described by the Prime Minister’s Office as the last survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Rotem, 89, fought alongside Mordechai Anielewicz in the Jewish Combat Organization.

He told Netanyahu, as well as Education Minister Shai Piron and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, how he served as a liaison between the bunker inside the ghetto and the underground on the “Aryan” side of the city. He also explained how people were smuggled out of the ghetto through the sewage pipes.

“We are a people known for its many talents, but ultimately these talents were not suited for the strength required of us to survive the horrors of the Holocaust,” said Netanyahu, who called Rotem a national and international hero.

Piron said Rotem “saw the human spirit over personal interest, and therefore did not hesitate to go back through the sewers to rescue his friends, Poles and Jews alike.”

Netanyahu will be accompanied on his two-day visit to Poland by five of his ministers, who will hold talks with their Polish counterparts in Warsaw.

Netanyahu, according to a Channel 2 report, decided to appoint Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch as his deputy prime minister during his absence. Unlike in his last term, Netanyahu has not named a permanent deputy prime minister.

In addition to going to Warsaw, Netanyahu will participate in the opening of the new permanent exhibition “Shoah” in Block 27 at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

The exhibit was designed and built by Yad Vashem, in coordination with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, and funded by the state with assistance from the Claims Conference. A statement put out by Yad Vashem said the old exhibition at the concentration camp, dating to the 1960s Communist era, had become outdated in terms of both content and display, and most visitors to the camp chose not to enter it at all. In 2005, Israel charged Yad Vashem with renewing the exhibition, which also entailed the preservation of the original barrack.

The Yad Vashem statement said the new exhibition “presents the main elements of the Holocaust, placing the murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau in the larger context of the Nazis’ systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people.”

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