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Leader of Warsaw ghetto uprising. In 1943, at the height of Nazi terror, the Warsaw ghetto was populated by 40,000 Jews; 460,000 had been systematically exterminated. Unless drastic action was taken, the survivors would be led like sheep to slaughter. The Jewish underground resolved at that moment to rise in open rebellion against their murderers.

A 24-year-old member of the Labor Zionist movement, Anielewicz chose to stay in Poland after Nazi occupation. Traveling from ghetto to ghetto in fear of his life, he spent the first four years of the occupation training young men in self-defense units.

Under Anielewicz’s able and inspiring command, the ghetto factions were welded into a single fighting force. During the Passover holiday of 1943, the ghetto fighters lashed out against their oppressors. For two weeks the poorly armed and heavily outnumbered “army” battled against the air and tank divisions that had been called in to quell the uprising. At the end of two weeks the ghetto stood no longer. Its defenders lay dead in the rubble. Among them was Anielewicz, and by his side as always was Mira, his wife.

The heroism of these defenders is commemorated in a massive monument erected at Yad Mordecai, a kibbutz in Israel named after Mordecai Anielewicz.

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