The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising has become a symbol of heroism throughout the world. Despite that, the generally accepted story of the uprising is incomplete. Among the ghetto fighters was a group that was not granted commemoration: The Jewish Military Union (ZZW) which was better armed than other groups fighting in the rest of the Ghetto and was responsible for the major and the most stubborn battles of the uprising. Based on the documentation of SS General Juergen Stroop, the movie reveals the untold truth, that was kept hidden for almost a century.
The Untold Story
Chapter 1 :
The untold myth
The first chapter of the movie tells the story of the Jewish Military Union (ZZW) remained on the floor of history’s editing room and is based on the most comprehensive documentation of what happened during the Holocaust - the German documentation. With their systematic methods, they wrote down and documented their murderous acts in real time. That is what the S.S. General, Jürgen Stroop did. Himmler chose him for the task of liquidating the ghetto and exterminating the Jews who still remained in the ghetto after the deportations to Treblinka. His daily reports reveal the real story of the uprising and the major part ZZW took in the battle. The first chapter of the movie depicts Stroop writing the reports while comparison to the testimonies of ZZW survivors.
Chapter 2 :
The last fighter
The second chapter of the movie is built surround the struggle of the film’s main protagonist - Ziuta's Hartman. Her story is the reflection of the ZZW fighters’ story, except that she remained alive. Ziuta was born in Kielce, Poland, and after the German occupation escaped from the ghetto and reached Warsaw. There she met a fellow townsman - Leon Rodal - a senior commander in the Jewish Military Union, who recruited her into the ranks of the Organization. Ziuta smuggled weapons into the Ghetto and performed other tasks, such as transferring funds for the orphanage of Janusz Korczak. During the Uprising itself, Z'uta was placed on one of the roofs in the Brushmakers quarter and saw with her own eyes the flags – both Polish and Zionist - soaring in the skies over the burning Ghetto. After the war she came to Israel and tried to tell the story of her brothers in arms, but nobody was willing to listen.
The main characters
Ziuta is the last survivor of ZZW fighters. After the German occupation escaped from the Kielce ghetto and reached Warsaw, where she joined Jewish Military Union. She was responsible of smuggling the weapons inside the ghetto and fought in the uprising itself, was captured by the Germans and survived Majdanek concentration camp and the death march.
The image of the ZZW Commander Pawel Frenkel, a man of whom not even one picture survived, is one of the mysteries the film handles. Frenkel, who was of the same age as Mordechai Anielewicz, fell in battle outside the Ghetto walls two months after the end of the Uprising, and his death, like his image, have remained shrouded in mystery.
S.S. General, Jürgen Stroop
Himmler chose him for the task of liquidating the ghetto and exterminating the Jews who still remained in the ghetto after the deportations to Treblinka. Stroop wrote down and documented his murderous acts in real time and his daily reports reveal the real story of the uprising and the major part ZZW took in the battle.
Simha Rotem (Kazik)
One of the most famous fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. He served as the main contact for Mordechai Anielewicz and ZOB, the man who got the last of the Organization’s fighters out of the Ghetto through the sewers. The story of his heroism has been immortalized in dozens of films, documentaries and feature films.
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On 12 December 1943, Emanuel Ringelblum, a left-wing activist, historian, founder of the famous "Oneg Shabbat" archives and a man considered the most reliable witness to events in the Warsaw Ghetto, wrote: "Why are there no data on ZZW fighters'? We must leave their tracks in history, even if they are unsympathetic to us." Ringelblum’s last wish, which unlike many others knew how to differentiate between ideology and historical truth, has yet to materialize properly.
We believe that this is one of the biggest stories of heroism in the history of the Jewish people ... and one of the biggest mysteries in the history of establishment of the State of Israel, a story that through its prism we can better understand how the mysterious process of the writing of history works. The truth as usual is not unambiguous…
Remembering the Holocaust was widely perceived as the memory of a terrible disaster where the Jews were led to destruction by Nazi murderers. However, the phenomenon of Jewish heroism in those dark times does not receive the exposure and the place in the consciousness it merits. To tell the story of these Jewish heroes, in our opinion, contribute greatly to Holocaust research, in that these stories shed light on that heroic side of the human soul that causes it to rise above itself even during the worst imaginable times, that side that was exposed in full force during the Holocaust.
Since this is one of the most famous myths of Jewish heroism during the Holocaust, we believe that the film shines a new light on the myth, and contributes to the continuation of the debate on the subject and thus provide greater exposure on the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
After 70 years of omitting the amazing story of the Jewish Combat Organization Fighters - the forgotten heroes of the Uprising – it is proper that this story should be brought back to memory and consciousness. Together with them will be raised the question, valid at all times, asking what is the relation between politics and the writing of history, and how is the collective memory of a whole nation created. Or to paraphrase the words of George Orwell: He who controls the present, does he control the past...?
Script and Direction
Yuval Haimovich Zuser
and Simon Shechter
Yuval Haimovich Zuser
Jacky Talpalar - Studio Gadget
Simon Shechter and
Ronen Machlis Balzam
Aleksandr Polovets , Tatyana Bobrikov, Vladimir Drachuk, Konstantin Boyko, Ramil Yenikieiev, Ilya Meniovich, Ekaterina Karelshtein, Evgeniy Zinchenko, Elena Shwerk, Mark Tonkonog, Andrey Zrozhevskiy, Vasiliy Moskalenko, Michail Merkulov, Alexander Marochkanich