Warsaw partisan fought in 2 uprisings
WARSAW — Boruch Spiegel, one of the last remaining survivors of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising by poorly armed Jewish insurgents against the powerful Nazi German force that occupied Poland, has died. He was 93.
Spiegel died May 9 in Montreal, his son, Julius Spiegel, said Tuesday.
With Spiegel's death, the tiny group of survivors of the legendary World War II revolt that was crushed 70 years ago this month grows even smaller.
Spiegel was one of about 750 Jewish fighters who on April 19, 1943, started an uprising that took the Germans off guard. The fighters were overwhelmingly outnumbered and outgunned and the revolt never had a real chance of victory, but the fighters still managed to hold out for a month, longer than some countries invaded by Hitler.
Ultimately, though, the German revenge was brutal and involved burning the Warsaw ghetto down building by building. A few dozen of the Jewish fighters survived by escaping the ghetto through underground sewage canals to reach the so-called “Aryan side” of the Polish capital. Spiegel and his future wife Chaika Belchatowska were among them. Others were sent to camps, where most died.
After surviving the ghetto uprising, Spiegel and his future wife joined the Polish partisans and took part in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, a larger city-wide revolt against the occupying Germans.
Havi Dreifuss, a historian and Holocaust expert with Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem-based Holocaust research institution and museum, warned against trying to put a number on how many fighters remain. Dreifuss said it's sometimes hard to distinguish fighters from other resisters, who were entrenched in hiding places and refused to obey Nazi orders to show up for transportations to labor or concentration camps, and that an appreciation has grown over time for their resistance during the uprising.
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