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Below is from a new 6-page diary written on aged paper just found in 2004

Nowhere to run as 'hassidim of Hitler' close in
By ETGAR LEFKOVITS



"We are living by the day, the hour, the moment," run the chilling last words of the diary of a
young Jewish woman, hiding in an underground bunker during the final days of the Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising.

Written in Polish and faded by age, the six-page diary, detailing the last hellish days of the
1943 uprising against the Nazis, was recently uncovered amid other Warsaw Ghetto archive
materials at the Ghetto Fighters' House at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot.

The unsigned record, which was originally found amid the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto following
World War II, is the only known existing diary written during the 27-day Warsaw Ghetto uprising,
according to the center's archive director, Yossi Shavit.

The author, probably in her 20s, most likely perished in the Nazi demolition of the ghetto, said
Shavit.

After it was discovered amid the ruins of the ghetto, the diary was given to a prominent Jewish
underground resistance leader, Adolph Berman, who bequeathed it, with other Holocaust-related
materials, to the Ghetto Fighters' House in the 1970s. The importance of the diary, lying amid
scores of other assorted archive materials, was apparently not recognized until recently.

The diary, which begins April 24, 1943, five days after the uprising began, and continues for 10
days, provides a harrowing account of a group of dozens of unarmed people, young and old, hiding
in fear in their confined bunker, all too aware of the certain death that awaits them.

Surrounded by the well-armed Nazis, the group finds itself slowly running out of food and with no
running water as more and more people try to cram inside, with lice and disease rampant in the
overcrowded bunker which is eventually enveloped by flames.

It is not known whether the members of the group were captured alive by the Nazis or burned
during the Nazi demolition of the ghetto.

The diary, including a diagram of the bunker, is being put on display at the Ghetto Fighters'
House, where it has also been translated into Hebrew.

After the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, more than 450,000 Jews from Warsaw and its environs
were forced into the squalid confines of the ghetto.

By July 1942, nearly 100,000 people had died there of disease, cold and starvation.

Beginning that summer, some 300,000 Jews were deported from the ghetto to death camps throughout
Poland, 265,000 of them to Treblinka.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising the first urban insurrection in Nazi-occupied Europe and the war's
most famous incidence of Jewish resistance broke out on Pessah eve, April 19, 1943.

Despite the Nazis' overwhelming military superiority, the struggle lasted nearly four weeks.

In the end, most of the roughly 200 heroic fighters, along with the tens of thousands of
remaining Jewish inhabitants, were killed, as the Nazis systematically burned down the ghetto
block by block, before razing it to the ground in mid-May.

Only a few dozen Jews escaped through sewers to the other side of the wall and went into hiding.

"We are inside a shelter," the diary begins on April 24, the group's sixth day of hiding in the
bunker.

That night at 8 o'clock, the author records, the sound of footsteps and a knock on the secret
entrance to their bunker freezes conversation. It is a neighbor, come to warn them that their
house is on fire.

Members of the group venture out and into the burning apartment. "We looked out of the window of
the house, and we saw the ghetto on fire, completely engulfed in flames," she writes.

They work until 2 a.m. to put out the flames in their home. By 6, she records, they are back in
the bunker, and in bed. "The ghetto is engulfed in flames."


The next entry, on April 26, tells of a neighboring house, where Jews had been hiding, engulfed
in flames, with its residents running for cover. "It seems that disaster is fast approaching,"
the author writes.

"The shelter is very crowded because of the large number of people, and the even larger number of
people who want to come in to the hiding place. People are knocking to come in. Everyone wants to
come in. It is hard to give [everybody] permission to come in."

"I want to go to my brother, who is in another bunker, in the second courtyard, but it is too
far, and also too dangerous," she writes, in what is her only mention of other family members.

"The air in the bunker is horrible. People are almost choking. Many lose consciousness... Sleep
is out of the question due to the danger of suffocation."

On the ninth day of their stay, food runs short, as newcomers arrive with none. It is decided
that only a bowl of soup and a cup of coffee will be distributed daily to each person.

That evening, they are awakened by the noise of a grenade hurled upstairs. "Suddenly a horrible
explosion. A hand grenade explodes nearby. A deep silence fills the room. The enemy surrounds the
house, looking for us. Our sole method of defense is complete and utter silence."

April 28: "This is our 10th day in the bunker. Ten days of struggle with our bloodthirsty enemy
who plans to utterly destroy us. He started the war with grenades and tanks, and ends it with
setting homes on fire. We must survive and we hope we will survive. We are fighting for justice,
and the right to live..."

The possibility of escape from the ghetto is mentioned in the next day's entry. "It seems that we
wake up from a deep sleep. We begin to think realistically about escape to the Aryan side.
Whoever has a chance begins to prepare. These are realistic thoughts, but not within reach for
everybody.

"In our bunker, we will not be able to survive for long. The air is terrible, lice and
overcrowding reign supreme. What is left for us to do? To go out and risk our lives or die here?
Whoever has a chance, whoever has the courage to do this, must do this. But one must wait a
couple of days. If the enemy ceases its attacks on us, the chance for escape will be greater and
this is what we expect."

"The enemy is searching for us all over," the author writes on April 30. "Suddenly a huge
explosion, the walls shake, everybody jumps out of bed but nothing happens."

Writing while doing guard duty at the bunker entrance, the author tells of the heroism of the 45
people inside.

"Grenades are thrown at the house. People inside behave bravely. With complete tranquility they
look death in the eye," she writes on May 2, the last full day of the diary.

"The Germans are shooting every Jew they find, these hassidim of Hitler carrying out everything
in accordance with the order that by 1945 there will not be one Jew left in Europe," the diary
continues.

"In my imagination it seems to me at times that our bunker is a sinking ship. We are cut off from
the world, completely hopeless, being supported by our own strength alone. We do not talk of
rescue. With great effort we cling on... but to tell the truth we are but a little boat, with no
hope of rescue.... I myself am stunned that in these conditions we have managed to survive for
three weeks," she writes, as grenades hurled by the Nazis explode near their bunker.

"I go out to the street, around me everything is on fire... factories, apartments, shops, whole
houses. The whole ghetto is nothing but a sea of flames... the fire is spreading so quickly that
people do not have time to flee their homes and perish tragically," the diary reads.

"Because of the fire, there is a lot of movement on the road. There is no salvation. People do
not know where to hide. Out of desperation they search, but there is no rescue. No hiding. Death
reigns everywhere. The walls of the ghetto are surrounded. There is no entry and no exit.

"The houses and bunkers are on fire. People are choking because of the smoke. Everybody is
pleading for help. Many almost all are crying out to God. 'God, show your strength and have
mercy on us.' God is silent like a sphinx and does not answer. And you, the nations, why are you
silent? It seems that the end of the world has arrived. Hell has come to earth. Dante's Inferno.
It is unbelievable and indescribable....

"The enemy continues his destruction. A new day begins. With the new day, the silence of death
prevails."

A group of male Jewish fighters, from the author's resistance movement, report to members of the
bunker that they have killed 300 Germans.

"In our thoughts we go back to the past... we have lost many things which we have accomplished
over the years, and the only thing that is left is our hiding place, and of course this is not
secure in the long term."

And then, that last line of this final entry: "We are living by the day, the hour, the moment."


BIBLE PROBE DVD RECOMMENDATION ON THIS FANTASTIC WARSAW JEWISH GHETTO UPRISING.

Get the DVD "Uprising". About an underground collective of Polish Jews dared to defy the Nazis.
Hank Azaria leads an all-star cast as resistance leader Mordecai Anielewicz, and the film follows
his close-knit collaborators (including David Schwimmer and Leelee Sobieski) and their battle
against the Nazi general (Jon Voight) assigned to clear all Jews from Warsaw. Donald Sutherland
plays the Ghetto's chief Rabbi who is made to make some real tough decisions.
 

uprising dvd

See DVD at Amazon here


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