THE BRAVEST BATTLE: The 28 Days of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by Dan Kurzman

THE BRAVEST BATTLE: The 28 Days of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

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KIRKUS REVIEW

By the spring of 1943, the ghettoized Jewish population was less than a tenth of its size before the Nazi occupation, and 1500 fighters finally prepared for battle. One group, the ZOB, was composed of leftists and left-wing Zionists, while the more conservative ZZW had ties, including weapons supply lines, to the Polish Home Army. Events are reconstructed through the eyes of participants (Kurzman conducted 500 interviews and reproduces conversational detail extensively). The closeups include not only Jewish leaders but the commander of the Nazi butchers, SS General Jurgen Stroop, and Walther Tobbens, a German industrialist who hated to see his slave-labor supply disappear, as well as Polish Home Army captain Iwanski, who gave crucial help to the Jews. The book focuses so closely on the day-to-day, bunker-by-bunker sequence of the four-week uprising, however, that the shape of events remains rather elusive. The War Against the Jews (1975) by Lucy Dawidowicz and the extensively documented Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto (1975) by Ber Mark both stressed political and sociological cleavages within the ghetto struggle. By contrast, the fight is seen here as purgative violence, ""the beginning of an iron militancy rooted in the will to survive"" which ""symbolically ended 2000 years of submission"" and bridged the way to the creation of the State of Israel. Within this controversial framework, the bravery of the insurgents and the horror of the extermination are commemorated in existential detail.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1976
Publisher: Putnam