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August 6, 2013 1:47 pm

Treblinka Uprising 70th Anniversary Ceremony Features Last Living Survivor Samuel Willenberg

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Samuel Willenberg, second from left, at a ceremony commemorating 70 years since the Treblinka uprising. Photo: Facebook.

The site of the Treblinka concentration camp, in Poland, played host to a ceremony this past Friday commemorating 70 years since the Jewish prisoner revolt at the camp that became known as the “Treblinka uprising.”

The ceremony featured Samuel Willenberg, the last living survivor of the uprising, and Israel’s Deputy Minister of Education MK Avi Wortzman.

In an interview with The Algemeiner, Wortzman said he was especially moved by the opportunity to meet Willenberg.

“As Deputy Minister of Education for the State of Israel, it was an honor to stand in Treblinka with Mr. Willenberg, the last survivor of the uprising and carry his message of hope and strength to the future generations here in Israel,” he said. “The Holocaust is a huge part of our collective history as a Jewish people and the children of Israel will continue to learn about it and visit Poland to try and understand what happened there and understand the importance of us having our own state and ruling our own destiny.”

Willenberg was part of a small group of prisoners who, with a copied key, opened the Nazi armory at the concentration camp, distributed the weapons and set fire to the camp’s installations. Though 200 of the 300 who escaped in the uprising were eventually captured and murdered, Willenberg was able to flee successfully, making his way to Poland, and then, in 1950, settling in Israel.

The ceremony was organized by the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland and featured hundreds of guests, including an Israeli delegation led by Jonny Daniels, a communications adviser to several Knesset Parliament members.

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  • Although Treblinka was only operational for slightly less than a year, almost a million Jews perished there, including the sister of Rebbetzen Chaya-Mushka.
    The number remaining when it was closed was about 180; only a small proportion of that number survived the Holocaust.
    Most accounts of the conditions there came from the inmates of Auschwitz which was regarded by the Germans as a “more-effective” killing machine.
    From the graphic descriptions that I heard (second-hand from survivors of other camps, the atrocities committed there were too horrific to repeat.
    It should be mandatory learning in school curriculum’s. I wonder whether the notion of collective guilt still exists. I raise the question because all gentiles should know that the entire world allowed this to happen and did very little nothing. And if you travel through Europe today, there is no tangible Jewish presence, only monuments.

    • Bobbie

      I am currently reading “Were We Our Brother’s Keeper?” This is a book about the American Jewish Response to the Holocaust. Everyone should read this, it would help stop the Blaming of “Gentiles” for we also did nothing for our Brothers and Sisters. We did what was politically correct and the blind acceptance to the leadership of the day looks all to familiar today. WE ALL FAILED THE VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST. We could not believe evil like this could exist. We still close our eyes to this evil.

  • Ethan Coane

    Surely a beacon of pride for all Jewish people that at least some of the Nazis’ victims defied their persecutor’s expectations and stereotypes and summoned up the desperate bravery to take their lives into their own hands. May their example never, ever be forgotten. The anniversary of the Treblinka uprising serves as a reminder: NEVER AGAIN! Long live the State of Israel.

  • I have just read the book B elzec sobidor and treblinka and the story of a Shmuel Wilenberg and believe this to be the same man.He was a barber at one stage in the camp.An absolute HERO in my eyes for what he did by burning the camp and his escspe.You sir were meant to bear witness to these attrocities.BARUCH HAHEM?

  • Dick

    Willenberg, a man and a hero Rember (Zakar)

  • R

    There are plenty of people running loose today who still deny the Holocaust ever occurred, They belong in an asylum for incurable lunatics!

    • Efram Paul

      Instead of leading sovereign nations.

  • R

    Let’s hope that Willenberg has been filmed, interviewed and his own words have been preserved for future generations to see and hear for themselves what the “great” nation of Germany did to the Jews. There are already plenty of people who openly assert that the entire Holocaust is just another Jewish myth. Even the photographs taken by Germany’s own photographers fail to convince them! Germany was proud of what the produced: murder, starvation, cruelty, the whole bit! There are still plenty of “neo-nazis” running loose today. They ought to be in an asylum for incurable lunatics.

    • Tone Lechtzier

      denial exists in epidemic proportions, woven as a cancer through the fabric of society. Denial of the Holocaust I believe is to deny feelings of guilt.
      Instead of owning up to it, and regretting it, perhaps saying “sorry”, and meaning it. Denial at large is the illusion of escape from the reality of truth.

      With Blessings ~ Tone