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Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

On April 19, the 12th Warsaw Ghetto Uprising social-educational campaign – symbolized as the ‘Daffodils Campaign’  will be held, marking the 81st anniversary of the outbreak of the uprising.

The Daffodils Campaign is organized by the POLIN museum in Warsaw, which sheds light on the Jewish culture that has existed on Polish lands for 1,000 years. The museum invites visitors from all over the world to learn from this history and understand the resistance that emerged on April 19, 1943.

The Nazis imprisoned more than 400,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, the walls of which were built in 1940. Tens of thousands of Polish Jews died of disease in the ghetto. In July 1942, the Great Deportation Action began and 300,000 ghetto residents were sent to camps to be killed. Only 60,000, mainly young people who were forced to work in Nazi workshops, remained. With nothing left to lose, Jewish youth started the first civil resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The resisters fought not for victory, but for their honor. Polish Jews aimed to fight heroically and slow down the Nazis war machine rather than die waiting to be taken from inside the walls and sent to the camps.


Why the yellow daffodil?

Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, would receive a bouquet of yellow daffodils from an anonymous sender every year on April 19. He would lay them at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in memory of those who fought and died. The paper daffodils, which people wear on this day, are inspired by this custom. Edelman, who remained in Poland after the war, passed away in 2009.

To understand this historical act of resistance and commemorate its 81st anniversary, the POLIN Museum offers a series of social events and educational material for people of all ages. The film ‘There Was No Hope,’ presented by the POLIN Museum, reflects a striking reality, including interviews of the leaders of the uprising years after the event. The museum’s core exhibition, the Holocaust Gallery, presents a historical reality created with the recommendations of the academic community.

Many materials suitable for children are also presented within the scope of the event. An animated film based on a short story titled ‘The Memory of Speckles’ by Zofia Stanecka, which transports us to a fairy-tale universe inhabited by kind spirits who look after the forest and all the creatures that live in it, and the film ‘There Was—There Isn’t—There Is’ by Katarzyna Jackowska, which deals with the difficult and important topic of experiencing and coping with loss, are recommended for kids. The premieres of many more films will be held online on April 19.

How can you get more involved in the commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising?

Even if you cannot be in Warsaw, by joining POLIN’s online campaign, you will be joining a countless number of people around the world who will be remembering the events of the Uprising. Participation is very simple and there are several ways to commemorate. The simplest way is to make our official daffodil, a take a selfie for your social media profiles and use our hashtags: #RememberingTogether, #WarsawGhettoUprisingCampaign.

Erol Dzhelik
Erol Dzhelik
I think we can overcome global challenges with mutual understanding, international cooperation and diplomacy. We offer you this insight at Poland Weekly.