One of the few survivors of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, Holocaust scholar Gutman draws on diaries, personal letters, and underground press reports in this compelling, authoritative account of a landmark event in Jewish history. Here, too, is a portrait of the vibrant culture that shaped the young fighters, whose inspired defiance would have far-reaching implications for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
The Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943, following Hitler's orders to annihilate the Jewish population of Poland's capital, pitted hundreds of poorly armed, starving Jews fighting to the death, in total isolation, against an overwhelming Nazi army. This superb, moving, richly informative history of the uprising, which was led by an underground resistance group, should erase the stereotype of the passive Jewish victim. Himself a survivor of the battle, Gutman ( The Jews of Warsaw ), a history professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, uses contemporaneous diaries, letters, underground press articles, survivors' accounts, poems and Nazi documents to create a vivid picture of daily life in the ghetto, and of temporary alliances forged among Jewish fighting factions torn by ideological rifts. He also illuminates contacts between Jewish partisans and the Polish underground and fills in the cultural background by delineating Warsaw's vibrant pre-war Jewish community. Photos. (Apr.)