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President Shimon Peres Takes Part in the Ghetto Fighters' House Opening Ceremony Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

On Thursday, January 17, 2013, the Ghetto Fighters’ House launched its year commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, with a special event beginning at 10:00 a.m.: President Shimon Peres will honor the last of the fighters in an especially moving, closed gathering with the survivors: Simcha Rathajzer-Rotem (“Kazik”), Chavka Folman-Raban, Yehuda Maymon (“Poldek”), Pnina Grinshpan-Frimer, Hela Schuepper-Rufeisen, Prof. Israel Gutman, Samuel Willenberg, and Prof. Yitzhak Arad.

Among those representing the “second and third generations” at the event are Michael Kovner, son of partisan-poet Abba Kovner, and Eyal Zuckerman-Menashe, granddaughter of Yitzhak “Antek” Zuckerman and Zivia Lubetkin, among the leadership of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

In a discussion moderated by Yigal Ravid, Chavka and Kazik will tell of the people, events, and dilemmas at the heart of the uprising. Participants from the “third generation” will examine the influences the ghetto uprising has had on their identities and their lives – and whether the values that fueled it then, are still relevant today.


The Ghetto Fighters’ House will present Mr. Peres with a specially produced copy of the diary of an unidentified young woman, a fighter of the Warsaw ghetto underground, writing in a bunker under Mila Street in the midst of the uprising. This rare document has been translated from Polish to Hebrew by the GFH Archives staff. At the gathering, a pair of narrators of the fighters’ age will read excerpts (in Hebrew) translated from the diary, describing experiences of the shared fate in the bunker of fighters and ghetto inhabitants, the sense of anxiety and helplessness, and the desperate attempt to hold on to life despite everything. 


A page from the diary that will be presented to President Shimon Peres


At 12:30, GFH invites the general public to a study day program titled, “The Last Ones on the Wall.”

Participating are the creators of the documentary film trilogy produced by GFH in the years 1974–1985. It was written by poet Haim Gouri, a personal friend of Antek and Zivia, with Jacquo Ehrlich, David Bergman, and Yossi Mar-Haim. The trilogy – “Flames in the Ashes,” “The Last Sea,” and “The 81st Blow” – among the most significant productions ever made on the Holocaust of European Jewry, has recently been restored, re-mastered, and digitized: a vital project undertaken by the Israel Film Archive at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, directed by Meir Russo.

Historian Muki Tsur will moderate a discussion on the film trilogy.

Prof. Hanna Yablonka will lecture on historical and Israeli interpretations of the Uprising.

Also on the program: excerpts from letters and journals written by fighters of the ghetto underground, and songs of vocalist Ora Sittner, the daughter of WWII-era partisans.


Article in "Haaretz" on the president's visit to the Ghetto Fighters' House 


Article in the Jerusalem Post:  "Peres given haunting diary of Warsaw ghetto fighter"


Pictures from the event


President Shimon Peres receives the specially produced copy of the diary of an unidentified young woman, a fighter of the Warsaw Ghetto underground. Standing with the President: Simcha Rathajzer-Rotem ("Kazik") and Chavka Folman-Raban.  The President with Dr. Anat Livne, Director of the Ghetto Fighters' House and Mr. Ophir Paz-Pines, Chairman of the museum's Governing Council.

Ceremony in the "Warsaw Ghetto Fights Back" exhibition.  From left to right: Eyal Zuckerman-Menashe, granddaughter of Yitzhak "Antek" Zuckerman and Zivia Lubetkin, Kazik, President Shimon Peres, Chavka Folman-Raban and Yigal Ravid, who moderated the ceremony. 


Photos:  Arnold Bear

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