The Creation of the Jewish Fighting Organization in the Warsaw Ghetto

(March 1944)


...On Wednesday, July 22, 1942 [the eve of Tisha be-Av, Day of Mourning], the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto was begun. The Public Committee was immediately summoned to find out what the situation was and to take measures. Those attending the meeting included: L. Bloch, Shmuer Bresler [Breslav], Dr. A. Berman, Yitzhak Cukierman, Zisha Friedman, Josef Finkelstein-Lewartowski, D. Guzik, Yitzhak Giterman, Josef Kaplan, Menachem Kirszenbaum, Alexander Landau, M. Orzech, Dr. Emmanuel Ringelblum, Josef Sack, Szachna Sagan and Dr. Yitzhak Schiper. Opinions were divided. Representatives of the left-wing Zionist parties and of He-Halutz [Zionists] and also some of the men in public life called for active intervention in some way or other. The majority wanted to wait. How long? Until the situation became clearer. For rumors were circulating that no more than 50,000 to 70,000 Jews would be deported from Warsaw (old people, the sick, prisoners, beggars, etc.), and [after that] the Aktion would be finished....

On July 28, 1942, a meeting was held of He-Halutz and its youth-movement branches: Ha-Shomer Ha-Za’ir, Dror, and Akiva. It was decided to set up the Jewish Fighting Organization YKA (Yidishe-Kamf-Organizatsie). The organization signed proclamations which it issued in the Polish language with the initials ZOB: Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa – Jewish Fighting Organization. The members of the Command were: Bresler, Cukierman, Zivia Lubetkin, Mordecai Tenenbaum and Josef Kaplan. A delegation was sent to the Aryan side [i.e., outside the ghetto], to the Poles: Tosia Altman, Plotnicka, Leah Perlstein and Arie-Jurek Wilner, in order to make contact with the Polish Underground and to obtain weapons for the ghetto.

The fighting organization had been set up, but all the weapons there were in the ghetto at that time consisted of just one pistol...!

 

Yad Vashem Archives, O-25/96.

 

* From a report by Yitzhak Cukierman in Warsaw, March 1944. See document 126.


Source: Yad Vashem