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20th Anniversary of Battle of Warsaw Ghetto is Honored

Apr. 21, 1963 - Ceremonies were held in New York and in many other places in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto. Taking cognizance of the uprising that began on Passover Eve of April 19, 1943, President Kennedy, in a message sent to an overflow gathering of 3,000 persons at Carnegie Hall, said: “Just as many before them did, the people of the Warsaw Ghetto affirmed that a few men who honor their freedom can speak for all men; that the only genuine choice in the history of man is not between living and dying but between seeking or not seeking the right. It is a measure of their courage that the brutality they opposed will be remembered only in the light of their sacrifice.” On April 19, 1943, Nazi Panzer troops, wielding flame-throwers, entered the Ghetto with orders to complete its “final liquidation.” Only a remnant of 63,000 inhabitants remained out of an original total of 350,000. Hunger, disease, and deportations to the Treblinka death camp had claimed the lives of the majority of adults and children. For 27 days, the Jews, armed only with pistols, homemade grenades, and some captured machine guns, fought the Nazi military might. About 80 survivors escaped through the sewer system. On May 16, 1943, S.S. Maj. Gen. Jürgen Stroop, commander of the operation, reported to Adolf Hitler: “There is no longer any Jewish quarter in Warsaw.”


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