Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Obituaries


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published October 3, 2009 at 12:10 AM | Page modified October 3, 2009 at 12:28 AM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Obituary

WWII ghetto uprising commander dies at 90

Dr. Marek Edelman, a cardiologist who was the last surviving commander of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Germans, died Friday in Warsaw, Poland. He was 90.

Dr. Marek Edelman, a cardiologist who was the last surviving commander of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Germans, died Friday in Warsaw, Poland. He was 90.

A friend, Paula Sawicka, said he died "among friends, among his close people," at her home, where he had lived for the past two years.

Dr. Edelman was one of a handful of young leaders who in April 1943 led a force of 220 young Jewish men and women in a hopeless struggle against the Germans.

He was 20 when the Germans overran Poland in 1939, and in the months that followed he watched as they turned his Warsaw neighborhood into a ghetto, cutting it off from the rest of the city with brick walls, barbed wire and armed sentries.

By early 1942, up to 500,000 Jews had been herded into the area. After a year, almost half the people there had died of disease and starvation, while others were shipped out on trains to death camps.

The resistance plans were implemented April 19, 1943, when the Nazis moved to liquidate the ghetto by killing or sending some 60,000 remaining residents to the death camps. Thousands were put on regular transports to the death camps of Treblinka, Majdanek and Sobibor.

But the Germans encountered unexpectedly fierce resistance from a few hundred young, poorly armed Jewish civilians, determined to die fighting rather than in gas chambers.

The ghetto fighters inflicted heavy losses on the Germans but eventually succumbed after about three weeks. More than 55,000 people were killed or deported to Nazi concentration camps when the uprising failed.

The uprising's leaders were rounded up in a bunker and, seeing no chance of escape, they committed suicide on May 8, 1943.

Dr. Edelman was not in the bunker. With a small group of survivors, he left through the sewers to the Aryan side of Warsaw, where he found places to hide and helped coordinate Jewish partisan groups in nearby forests.

In August and September 1944, he fought in the Warsaw Uprising, another ill-fated revolt meant to free the capital from Germans ahead of the advancing Red Army.

More Obituaries headlines...

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.


Get home delivery today!

More Obituaries

UPDATE - 6:15 AM
This week's passages

Obituary: Douglas W. Luna, 67, passionate about the law and helping others

This week's passages

Advertising

Video

Marketplace

Advertising