Our Last Days in the Warsaw Ghetto
In commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which has just been celebrated throughout the world, we here present a memoir of the uprising written by a participant who survived the liquidation of the Ghetto. ALEXANDER DONAT, who today lives in New York and operates a printing plant, was publisher and editor of a popular Polish daily, Ostatnie Wiadomosci (“Latest News”) in pre-war Warsaw. Following the events related below, Mr. Donat and his wife were deported to Maidanek and then separated-he being sent to a succession of four other concentration camps and she to Auschwitz and then Ravensbriick. Both were liberated after the war and reunited with their son, thus becoming one of the very few Warsaw Jewish families to be saved in its entirety.
The present essay has been adapted from a section of Mr. Donat’s unpublished memoirs.
January, 1943. The new year in the Warsaw Ghetto. Nothing unusual was happening, but the air was full of forebodings.
“They’re busy at the Umschlag* again.”
“Ukrainian and Latvian guards have arrived.”
“The Vernichtungskommando t is on its way to Warsaw.”
“Final liquidation of the ghetto. Nobody will be spared.”
Ugly rumors circulated everywhere. Without having any certain evidence, we waited for disaster, prepared for it. Many of us were determined that next time things would not go as they had in July.** And yet-the hope continued to plague us-could it come to that, after all?
About the Author