Hirsch Berlinski (1908 – 1944)
“..One way or another lies Death.” Hirsch Berlinski.
Hirsch Berlinski was born in Lodz, Poland in 1908 and as a political activist and a member of Lodz’s Socialist Labour movement, the Poalei Tsiyon, he was considered both an idealistic and brave, a tough leader and a hard and uncompromising fighter against those who sought to subdue him. As such, he was one of the organisers of the Jewish Fighting Organization, and during the Great Warsaw Ghetto Uprising he was a commander of the detachment of Poalei Tsiyon, the LPZ.
“..perhaps we shall meet again ..main thing ..dream of my life has come true. I have lived to see a Jewish Defence in ..Ghetto in all its greatness and glory.” Mordechai Anielewicz.
Here, and in the main Ghetto fighting organisation itself Hirsch, codenamed Jelenski, was greatly respected and a formative leader. When, on April 17th. 1943 the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins, while there are barely the remnants of some 70,000 of Warsaw’s Jews still alive resistance crystallises into an armed revolt against Hitler’s clear intention for all Jews.
Thursday April 29th. 1943 “..strength of ..German military and police machine ..being weakened daily. This strength broke near Stalingrad ..had to retreat from Tunis now stands powerless before a group of Jews who defend themselves in ..ghetto.” Polska.
When, on May 8th. 1943, in the Warsaw Ghetto, at the Headquarters of Jewish Resistance at 18 Mila Street, it is surrounded and its use is finally liquidated. Here, Mordechai Anielewicz and 97 Resistance Fighters Die on that Day, but their refusal to succumb to the Nazi brutality will further point the way toward all future Jewish Persistence in line with all further Resistance! 2 from this assault managed to Survive.
“..In Poland there were ..about 4,500,000 Jews ..there remain ..only 100,000. ..Warsaw Ghetto containing ..650,000 ..only 20,000 ..25,000 Jews there. ..majority killed. ..Special death camps at Lublin (Majdanek) ..Treblinka near Brst-Litovsk. ..several hundred ..jammed into large rooms ..where they die by gassing.” Vatican Memo.
On May 10th. 1943 Hirsch himself escaped through the sewer system to the gentile sector of Warsaw and established links with and rejoined the efforts of the Jewish Fighting Organization, ZOB. Tragically, amongst those lost in the attempt to escape through the sewer system was Yekhil Gorny, and he had previously beenone of those who had afforded Onyeg Shabes d fought partisan actions in the forests of Wyszkow.
Tuesday May 11th. 1943 “..responsibility for ..crime of ..murder of ..whole Jewish nationality in Poland rests first of all on those who are carrying it out ..but indirectly it falls also upon ..whole of humanity ..peoples of ..Allied nations and on their governments ..who up to this day have not taken any real steps to halt this crime. By looking on passively upon this murder of defenceless millions tortured children ..women and men they have become partners to ..responsibility. ..My friends in ..Warsaw ghetto fell. ..I did not succeed in dying ..same way or ..with them. ..I belong to them and ..mass graves there.” Shmuel Zygielbojm.
Hirsch, who had been in the meeting when Ringelblum delivered what would see the emergence of at least some of Jewish People from the conflagration, was often at Ringelblum’s side in forays into the gentile side of Warsaw. Hirsch, who never moved too far from the concern for Jewish Warsaw, returned to participate in the freeing of Warsaw from German occupation.
“..I believe that we will be able to preserve ..essence of ..Ghetto in Warsaw. We are in ..midst of a war. Every nation sacrifices victims ..we ..too ..are paying ..price in order to salvage ..core of ..people. Were I not convinced that we can succeed in saving that core ..I ..too ..would come to a different conclusion.” Emanuel Ringelblum.
Amongst many of the facts seemingly forgotten by Polish history, while the Germans were the common enemy of all Poland, not all efforts were aligned to engage in their defeat, and most certainly here in Warsaw. As we are aware, the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising stood very much alone, ill equipped and abandoned to their fate by a reckless duplicity from the non-Jewish side unwilling to help.
“..opposition of Warsaw Ghetto Jews was led by Russia officers parachuted in ..arms supplied ..same way.” General Marjan Kukiel.
Far too readily are there many who would seek to deny the Jewish Resistance here within The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising the level of self detrmination these Jews delivered, abandoned as they were by those outside the Ghetto walls. While it is certainly true that not all non-Jewish Poles sought to deny the Polish Jews some form of support in this battle against Stroop and his SS cohorts, too many did.
Monday May 17th. 1943 “..Warsaw Ghetto is free of Jews.” SS Obergruppenfuhrer Jurgen Stroop.
It is certainly true that while weapons could be purchased, the exorbitant demands from over the wall for Gold, Jewellery and even Cash, deprived the Jewish Fighters of the weapons necessary to Fight and Resist. However, while they did resist, and for far longer than they were expected, there gallant effort is recorded in all of History. For all of those who stood aside and witnessed the destrution of the Fighting Jews within the Warsaw Ghetto, history does not exhonorate any of them.
Several Polish Rifles,
1 Russian rifle,
1 German rifle,
59 pistols of various caliber,
Several 100 hand grenades, including Polish and home made ones,
Several 100 incendiary bottles,
Home made explosives,
Infernal machines with fuses,
A large amount of explosives, and
Ammunition for weapons of all caliber, including some machine gun ammunition.
We know from Stroop himself how inaccurate the statement of Kukiel is, and it is a falsehood tinged with bitter regret that Poland did not mark its own resistance with such determination. It is evident here that Kukiel seeks to perpetuate and anti-Jewish slur, a lie which Stroop’s own report lays to waste as he concluded in terms of this booty that was finally confiscated.
With this, the Jewish Resister’s did in Warsaw what the Polish Army did not nor could not do against this formidable foe, and Resisted.
On September 26th. 1944, the Germans surrounded the bunker in Zoliborz Hirsch, Pola Elster, Eliyahu Erlich and Hersh Wasser and his Wife Bluma Wasser were in hiding. Hirsch was killed on September 27th. 1944 in a shoot out with the Nazi’s who had discovered their hideout, and along with Pola Elster and Eliyahu Erlich they were killed. Both Hersh and Bluma Wasser managed to escape and largely due to this, and their shared knowledge with Rachel Auerbach, The Onyeg Shabes of Emanuel Ringelblum was to be preserved