Marek Edelman was the only survivor from the command of the Jewish Armed Resistance Organisation, the ZOB, that lead the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943. This is his short account of the Ghetto and of the creation of Jewish resistance to the plans of the SS to deport and exterminate the Ghetto population.
It is a moving, truly awe-inspiring story that at times brings tears to the eyes and a lump to the throat. The tension builds as it becomes apparent that the population of the Ghetto is to be exterminated, as the various political factions - nearly all socialists - unite around the need to fight. The need is driven above all by the pride of the inhabitants not to go like lambs to the slaughter and by the idea that some, just some, might actually survive if they do whereas none will if they don't. This urge to fight and the logic of struggle which underpins it, clearly derives from the socialist politics of the leadership.
The stories of individual heroism are amazing - a boy wedges his body into a tunnel entrance, thus inviting certain death, so as others may escape. The collective effort is epitomised by the singing of the Internationale on May Day as the fighters realise that they face their last impossible battle but also realise that, isolated as they are, they represent a worldwide movement of resistance to fascism.
Stunning, simply stunning book.