Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Warsaw Ghetto Revolt Commander Honored in Herzliya

Herzliya Hails a Warsaw Ghetto Jewish Hero

A historic injustice was rectified this weekend in the coastal city of Herzliya with a moving ceremony that culminated in the dedication of a square in memory of one of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising’s unsung heroes.

The event was the first of its kind, honoring Pawel Frenkel, the commander of the Jewish Military Organization. Many associate the infamous Warsaw uprising with the predominantly socialist Jewish Fighting Organization, commanded by Mordechai Anielewicz. However, according to the event’s organizers, Frenkel and his men played no less of a role than Anielewicz’s and thus deserved due credit.

The gathering was attended by some two hundred participants, including opposition leader and chairman of the Likud party, Binyamin Netanyahu, former cabinet ministers, Professor Moshe Arens and Dr Uzi Landau, veterans of pre- state Etzel and Lechi Undergrounds, representatives of the Jabotinsky Institute and young and old members of the Betar Youth Movement, including the movement’s World Chairman, Danny Danon.
Yaron Olami, a young Herzliya councilman and mayoral candidate, made the event possible with encouragement from Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens, who was a Betar movement leader. In the ceremony, Arens explained: “The fact that Pawel Frenkel and his fighters fought the main battle of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising at Muranowski Square has been obscured for more than 60 years. A deliberate and effective effort has been made to ignore, or at the very least minimize, the participation of Frenkel's fighters in the uprising. Some historians adopted a version of events crediting the forerunners of the Labor movement with the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Here today in Herzliya, we have begun to modestly put right this wrongdoing for the sake of future generations.”

According to a book published by David Landau, one of Frenkel's fighters who survived the uprising, Frenkel said to his group shortly before the uprising began, "Comrades! We will die before our time but we are not doomed. We will be alive as long as Jewish history lives."