70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

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April 19, 2013 @ 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Warsaw Ghetto Memorial
Riverside Drive & West 83rd Street
New York, NY 10024

This year, 2013, marks the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Yiddish cultural community, Bundists, children of resistance fighters and Holocaust survivors, members of the secular Yiddish community will gather at “der shteyn” (the stone) in Riverside Park at 83rd Street on April 19, at 12:30pm to mark this epic anniversary, and pay tribute to those who fought and those who perished in history’s most heinous crime.

On April 19, 1943 a group of about 220 Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto staged a historic, heroic uprising. It marked the largest organized armed rebellion within a Jewish ghetto in Nazi occupied Europe during the Holocaust. Though outnumbered and facing overwhelming military power, the Jewish fighters – men, women, boys and girls, fought fiercely, knowing that their chances were slim.  But at least they would determine the time and place of their death – a battle for survival and dignity.

On October 19, 1947, four years later, a plaque was dedicated at Riverside Park at 83rd Street, a site which had been designated as the location of a New York City monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which to this day has not been built. Buried beneath the plaque are two boxes containing soil from Terezin and Sered, two concentration camps in Czechoslovakia, and a scroll describing the defense of the Warsaw Ghetto.  Over the years, the plaque itself has become the monument.

The gatherings at der shteyn have continued annually, even as the survivor generation has become smaller through attrition. Through commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, all resistance efforts against the Nazis are remembered.  The annual commemorations at der sheteyn on April 19 have continued with Yiddish cultural activists carrying on the tradition of honoring the heroism and sacrifice of the Jews of Eastern Europe with remembrances, appropriate Yiddish poetry, music, and the singing of the Bundishe Shvue (the anthem of the Bund) and the Partisan Hymn.