Mordechai Anielewicz

mordechai anielewicz

Mordechai Anielewicz (1919-1943) was a significant best Jewish resistance leader during the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

Born into an impoverished Warsaw family, Anielewicz joined a left-wing Zionist group after completing high school. He left Poland shortly after the Nazi invasion, travelling through eastern Europe and attempting to recruit resistance fighters.

Anielewicz returned to Nazi-occupied Poland in 1942 and became leader of the ZOB (‘Jewish Combat Organisation’), despite being just 23 years old. He urged remaining Jews in the ghetto not to passively accept their fate but to take up arms and resist the SS.

In early 1943, Anielewicz and his men attacked an SS regiment entering the ghetto; the assault stunned the SS and prevented it from conducting another wave of Jewish deportations to nearby Treblinka. The ZOB resisted the Nazis for several months until a major SS offensive in May 1943.

Anielewicz and several other ZOB commandos are believed to have taken their own lives with cyanide, their bodies cremated either by the SS or other Jews.