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Mordechai Anielevich - '

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Resource Type: Story in: English
Age: 9-18
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Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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Resource Contents

Mordechai Anielevich

(1919 or 1920 1943)

Commander of the Warsaw ghetto uprising was born in a poor family in a poor neighborhood. After he completed his high school studies, he joined the "Hashomer Hatzair" youth movement. As a youngsters guide he excelled as a leader and organizer.

In September 7, 1939, a week after the war broke out, Anielevich escaped with his youth movement friends from Warsaw to the east regions, assuming that the Polish army would restrain the German advance. In September 17, the Soviet army occupied the eastern regions of Poland. Anielevich tried to pass the border to Romania to open a route for youngsters to Israel. Anielevich was caught and put in a Soviet jail. After he was released he returned to Warsaw Ghetto passing through a lot of communities on his way.

Anielevich stayed in Warsaw a short time and left for Vilna, Lithuania, where a lot of refugees, youth movement's members and political groups came from the west. The city was annexed to the USSR a short time before.

Anielevich demanded from his colleagues to send back a group of members to the occupied territories in Poland to continue the educational and political activities underground. He and his girlfriend, Mira Fukrer, were among the first volunteers that went back to Warsaw.

From January 1940, Anielevich became a professional underground activist. As a leader of his youth movement, he organized cells and youngsters groups, instructed, participated in underground publications, organized meetings and seminars and visited other groups in different cities.

Anielevich dedicated part of his time learning Hebrew, reading and studying History, sociology and economics. At the same time his point of view was formatted and expressed in publications and lectures.

His activities changed when the news about the mass killings of Jews in Eastern Europe were known. Immediately Anielevich start organizing self-defense groups inside the Warsaw Ghetto. His first attempts to connect with Polish forces outside the Ghetto, acting under orders of the Polish government in London, failed. In Mar - April 1942, Anielevich was one of the founders of the "Anti-fascist group". The "group" did not fulfill the expectations of Zionists groups, and after a wave of arrests of communists members the organization was dismantled.

When the major deportation to extermination camps started in Warsaw Ghetto, in the summer of 1942, Anielevich was visiting in the south-west region of Poland, that was annexed to Germany, trying to organize armed defense. At his return he found only 60.000 Jews from 350.000, and a small "Jews Fighter Organization", without any weapons and with a lot of difficulties, a lost of fighters and failures. Anielevich started to reorganize the group with great success because there was much support for the idea of fighting after the major deportation of all the underground groups. Next step was to compose a public committee and a coordination committee. In November 1942 Anielevich was elected as chief commander. Until January 1943, a few fighter groups of youth movement members were based in the ghetto. A connection with the Polish army commanded from London was made and weapons were supplied from the Polish side of the city.

In January 18, 1943, the Nazis planned the second big deportation of the Jews to the extermination camps from the Warsaw Ghetto. The headquarters organization did not have enough time to discuss the possible response but the armed groups decided to react. The resistance was lead in two points. Anielevich commanded the battle in the main street. The fighters joined the deported and when they got a signal between the streets Zamenhoff and Niska they attacked the escort. The Jews escaped and dispersed. Most of Hashomer Hatzair's members were killed in this battle. This was a very significant move because four days after the revolt, the Nazis stopped the operation.

The next three months - January to April 1943 - was an intensive preparation and very decisive period for the underground organization, under Anielevich's command. In April 19, on the eve of Pesah, the last deportation began, and the uprising broke out. At the first the superiority of the resistance was clear, and the Nazis suffered many losses. Three long days of battles between streets took place. The Nazis greatly outnumbered the resistance in soldiers and weapons, so that the hundreds of fighters, with only hand revolvers, had no chances. However, the Jewish fighters didn't surrender, and even survivors in shelters did not exit them despite the calls and promises. The Nazis forces were compelled to burn house by house and to go through every shelter in the Ghetto. The fight lasted for four weeks, and in May 16, 1943, after a lot of casualties, General Jurgen Stroop could report that the Ghetto was defeated and "there is no more Jewish suburb in Warsaw".

The first days of battles Anielevich commanded the resistance forces. When the street fight ended he moved to the headquarters shelter to Mila 18 street. On May 8 Anielevich was killed in the headquarters bunker together with a few colleagues.

In Israel Kibbutz, "Yad Mordechai" was named in memory of Mordechai Anilevich, and a monument is erected in his memory.


During WWII, Poland was the main transit ground for Jews being sent to the concentration camps. One of the main hubs was Warsaw. The section of the city that was cordonned off to serve as a prison for the Jews and other undesirables of Poland. From the greatest horror of modern man rose the greatest show of will, of courage. The Jews of the Ghetto, underarmed and outnumbered, under the command of Mordechai Anilevich, held the German army at bay for 40 days. it is a story of courage in the face of overwhelming odds, of personal courage and sacrifice. It forged the destiny of a people...

PLAINS OF HEAVEN


The Germans marched on Poland, In two weeks the country fell
The streets rang with Juden Raus, horst wessel and macht shnell
They quickly stripped us of our rights with one stroke of the pen
The nightmare was beginning but we did not know that then

They forced us from our homes into a zone a mile square
Then made us build a wall with our own hands to keep us there
Barbed wire and indifference blocked us in at every side
Hunger racked our bodies but they could not take our pride

Mordechai Anilevich said I will not stand for this
You cannot crush the spirit of the living Zionist
If Poland doesn't want us then perhaps its just as well
I'll help to lead my people to the land of Israel

We were thrown on the plains of heaven
Ripped from our homeland by indifference fear and hate
We would rise to turn to one another
By the time we saw the coming storm it was already too late

From every part of Europe they began to ship them in
Chassids from the Baltics bourgeosie from old Berlin
Half a million people forced on trains from near and far
The only thing in common on their coats a yellow star

We organized for orphans, Janus Korczak led the fight
We haggled with the council, puppets for the Nazi might
We organized an orchestra, learned torah and talmud
Thru the sewers smuggled weapons and thru graveyards gathered food

Mordechai returned to us thrown out at Zion's gate
The British spoke of quotas turned their eyes from Nazi hate
Mordechai, then said our promised land will be right here
He organized resistence taught us how to fight our fear

We would stand on the plains of heaven
Teach our children courage as we swallowed our own fright
We have survived we've seen our share of Pharoahs
God will hear our voices from the basements in the night

Early 42 the new solution became clear
They promised honest labor, food for any volunteer
Thousands from the umshlaglplatz, we didn't know the where or how
Until our scouts brought back reports from Auschwitz Birkenau

They came for Korczaks children he wouldnt let them go alone
He joined them singing on the train the bravest man we'd known
Our hearts were broken, heads unbowed, we knew it wasnt long
50 thousand left of people who were once 6 million strong

Mordechai called a meeting said we had to make a stand
We are children of Hashem He is our strong right hand
We must fight for one last time or fade out of this world
Let justice be our battle cry and vengeance be our sword

We would fall on the plains of heaven
Ashes by the millions as the world turned a blind eye
Saw our light burn down to an ember
You choose how to destroy us but we choose how we will die

Sanctified and holy is the name of god.
Blessed are his people now and ever
Courage is our birthright, we will show them Jewish honor
Til there is nothing more to overcome

April 43 the orders came to liquidate
The SS saw no danger as they opened up the gate
The Germans marched in singing daggers pointed to the skies
The last thing they expected was a bullet between the eyes

We fought them from the rooftops forced them out at every turn
Our homemade bombs and bottles set their Panzer tanks to burn
The blood of Nazi supermen shed by the small and meek
Ten years of propaganda shot to hell in one short week

We raised the Star of David let the ghetto be our claim
We made them pay for every inch in ammo blood and flame
We gave our lives without regret we felt the hand of fate
For the first time in 2000 years- there was a Jewish state

We will fight on the plains of the heaven
Though we know the battle is dubious as well
We will stand to shake the throne of evil
Let the ghetto be our heaven as we send you off to hell

They firebombed the ghetto shelled the buildings to the ground
We held fast in our bunkers as they burned the ghetto down
The heat intense the sewers boiled fresh water never found
The dying begged for mercy but we couldn't spare a round

They finally found our bunker under 18 Mila Street
The bastards gassed our fighters no surrender no retreat
By the time we could re-enter every body there was cold
Mordechai our leader fell with them, he was 24 years old

The last surviving fighters left thru sewers in the night
While some stayed on unbending they would not give up the fight
The Nazis claimed their victory the fortieth day
Then turned from the horizon Russian troops were on the way

We will rise from the plains of heaven
In the darkest hour let our light forever shine
Burn us down we still cannot be conquered
Somewhere beyond the ghetto is a future we can find

On the coastline near the Sinai stands the statue of a man
His shirt undone, his eyes aflame, a molotov in hand
Gan Mordechai, a kibbutz, a defiant sentinel
From the ashes of the ghetto rose the land of Yisroel
From the ashes of the ghetto rose the land of Yisroel



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