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Customer Review

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plays Fast and Loose with the True Events, 23 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Uprising (Two Disc Set) [DVD] (DVD)
I watched the DVD of Uprising and and had an opportunity to compare it with a factual account recounted in the book "Two Flags Return to the Warsaw Ghetto" by Marian Apfelbaum.

I found the movie Uprising moderately entertaining as an action movie if I didn't dwell on the factual details too much. The best part of the movie was the build up to the Uprising. The battle scenes although looked good were a bit too operatic and far fetched for me. Von Stroop was entertaining as he became progressively irate over the granades being thrown at his desk from outside the Ghetto.

The real problem is with the factual details, lack of them or how they have been altered. The characters are based on real ones, and the event The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising a tragic and real event, but the way events play out in the movie do not match those of the actual events, especially those involving ethnic Poles, as recounted by Marian Apfelbaum. The Poles role in this movie is limited to a typically Hollywood stereotypical view as "unhelpful onlookers". The Poles are given no credit for the arms they supplied to the Jewish resistance and the weapons they do accumalate in the movie are conjoured up from no-where. The relationship between the Judenrat and police and the rest of the Ghetto although shows general friction as in the Captain of the police being shot by the ZOB for his force aiding the Germans could have gone further and developed this relationship more, since it was the Judenrat who were the German proxies in the ghettos and were those people directly involved in oppressing the Jews by drawing up transport lists, work rotas and keeping factories running on behalf of the Germans.

There were two main fighting organisations in the Ghetto; the ZZW formed with the encouragement and help of the Polish AK in 1939 and the Communist leaning ZOB formed much later. ZZW were predominately ex-Polish army officers and NCO's who had good contacts with the Polish resistance outside of the Ghetto. The actions appear to be attributed to the ZOB when in fact it was the ZZW that inflicted the bulk of the casualties on the nazis.

"The ZOB came into existance at the end of 1942...It had practically no experianced officers and few weapons - 90 pistols, 500 defensive grenades, 100 attack grenades, 15 kilos of plastic explosive, detonators, a light machine gun, a sub machine gun, all arms supplied by the AK" M.A.

The movie shows no involvement of Poles with the supplying of arms, food or evacuation of Jews from the Ghetto during the time it was there. In fact several thousand Jews escaped through the tunnels the Poles dug into the Ghetto before the Uprising began and several hundred during the Uprising. In fact a scene showing a meeting between Poles partisans and Jewish rebels shows the Poles turning down the Jews request for help. This is completely false. The Poles supplied enough armaments to the ZZW for them to be armed 100%. In perspective only 1 in 15 Polish partisans who took part in the Warsaw Uprising the following year had a fire-arm. The Poles were not as generous with the ZOB, because they did not know the members, were not interested in aiding Communist leaning organisations and did not believe the ZOB would fight.

The importance the Poles placed on the organisation of the ZZW can be shown by this passage in "Two Flags".."A meeting that took place at the urging of the OW-KB (AK) on January 10 1940, was to have decisive and far reaching political consequences. Participating on behalf of the AK was Zofia Sikorska-Lesniowska, General Sikorski's daughter...and high ranking officers and political leaders. The main guest was Adam Czerniakow, chairman of the Warsaw Judenrat". General Sikorski was the wartime leader of the Poles until his death in Gibralter in 1943.

Marian Apfelbaum goes into detail how Poles entered the Ghetto bringing supplies and leading out escapees. Notably Captain Henryk Iwanski a founder member of the ZZW.

His book is also important in that he reveals the political differences between the two organisations which were so deep they managed to extend past the war and I believe still would exist today. I seem to recall that a few years ago an Israeli member of govenment was in Poland for the anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising a paid tribute to the members of the ZOB, and was reminded by the Poles that there was also the ZZW.

As I believe most of israeli politicians currently are on the political left this would explain one of the reasons why the ZZW has virtually been written out of history. ZZW was politically right leaning and I'm sure this antagonism is between political ideologies is repeated the world over. In this case it has nearly cost a brave group of people mainly Jewish, but many Poles too, the credit they deserve, which Marian Apfelbaum with his book "Two Flags" has sought to highlight.
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