Mon, Apr 15, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Warsaw Ghetto memorial reflects a changing mood in Poland

By Vanessa Gera  /  AP, WARSAW, Poland

In the end, the fighters held out for nearly a month, longer than some German-invaded countries did.

As part of the new desire to celebrate Poland’s Jewish past, organizers, led by the city of Warsaw, are making an unprecedented effort to get residents involved in four weeks of commemorative films, lectures, even a communal cleaning of the Jewish cemetery. They wrap up on May 16, the day in 1943 when the Nazis, having killed most of the fighters, celebrated their victory by blowing up the city’s Great Synagogue, a jewel of 19th century architecture.

To raise awareness of what the Jews suffered, hundreds of volunteers will go around the city handing out small paper daffodils for people to pin to their clothes as a sign of respect. On their Web site, organizers lament that the uprising, “which in the world is a symbol of the struggle for dignity, is little known in Warsaw,” and say they want it to become “the common historical awareness of Poles and Jews.”

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