In 2013, the 70th yahrzeit of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Dr. Marci Shore, associate professor of history at Yale, wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times entitled “The Jewish Hero History Forgot,” about Marek Edelman, who succeeded Mordecai Anielewicz as leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and was the man who actually led led the few remaining survivors through the ghastly Warsaw sewer system to eventual freedom. As Edelman was non-Zionist, he remained in Poland after the war, dedicated to rebuilding and bettering his country. As he was non-communist as well, he did not participate, as many Jews did, in the Communist Party activities after the war but, rather, in the Solidarity movement which eventually formed the first government after the end of communist rule in 1989. Edelman’s achievements and service to the Jewish people were completely ignored by the Israeli government.
Dr. Shore’s book, The Taste of Ashes: the Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe, which was published the same year as the op-ed piece, tells the stories of survivors of the war, survivors of communism, or their children, among others. She highlights the complexity of Eastern European Jewry’s position after the war, as many were heavily involved in the Communist Party while many others were active in the anti-communist opposition.
Polish Jews remaining after 1968 when the government pressured them to emigrate are surely a unique Jewish society. Dr. Shore is an authority on the Jewish community of Poland. She will speak as part of the Westville University Lecture Series on Wednesday, October 14th, at 8:00 PM.
Sponsor: Westville Synagogue