An exhibition entitled “Around Us a Sea of Fire. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” has been opened at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. This is the first exhibition about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising presented from the perspective of civilians. During the uprising, they descended into bunkers and hiding places, resisted the Germans and the system they imposed of murdering defenseless people in extermination camps. Instead of reporting for transport, they hid. Their quiet resistance was just as important as that with weapons in hand.
During its opening, Piotr Wislicki, Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Historical Institute Association, spoke among other things:
When the curators started developing the concept, their objective was to focus on human suffering and drama. Unfortunately, last year, Putin’s Russia brought back the demons of war. Once again, in Europe, there are people hiding in basements and dugouts from the beasts who want nothing but to destroy, steal, rape and murder.
They are fighting for survival their dignity. We can watch the suffering of innocent people on TV.
“Never again” – this slogan gets repeated over and over again. This is merely a naive wish. Unfortunately, history repeats itself. Evil turns up in a number of places all over the world.
I ask of all of you: When you commemorate the Jews murdered during the ghetto uprising, keep in mind the people who are currently hiding in basements and dugouts in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and many other places. In places that are closer to us than we tend to imagine. Precisely 150 km away from here, at the Polish-Belarusian border. The border in which refugees from different countries try to cross. Innocent people, children, women and men, who dream of a better future, but are forced to hide like animals in the forests, ditches and swamps. They are also fighting for survival and dignity – and often die doing so.
Don’t we all continue to be too indifferent to their faith?