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50th Anniversary of Holocaust

April 29, 1993

In "Jews Join Poles in Marking 50th Anniversary of Ghetto Uprising" (April 20), Tyler Marshall asserts that the April 19, 1943, Warsaw Ghetto Uprising "was the only known large-scale resistance mounted by the victims of the Holocaust against their oppressors." I strongly dissent from this erroneous view.

On Aug. 2, 1943, hundreds of half-starved and mistreated Jewish inmates of the Nazi death camp at Treblinka, Poland, staged a revolt so organized and so stunning to their captors and would-be murderers that it resulted in the escape of scores of prisoners and the closure and destruction of the extermination facility by the SS.

On Oct. 14, 1943, Jewish inmates at the Nazi death camp of Sobibor, Poland, under the inspired leadership of Soviet Jewish 1st Lt. Alexander Perchersky, also rose against their oppressors and in so doing managed the escape of 300 of the 600 prisoners confined in the main portion of the facility. As in the case of Treblinka, the SS fearfully responded to the uprising at Sobibor by closing the camp.

Finally, his assertion ignores the existence, much less the achievements, of the many Jewish partisans who fought in the forests of Eastern Europe against the Nazi death machine, and of the many Jewish soldiers who battled Axis forces as part of the British Eighth Army in what became known as the "Jewish Brigade."

The facts noted above give the lie to the much repeated claim of Jewish passivity during the Holocaust. In truth, the Jews of Europe were no more submissive to the Nazis than the people of Bosnia are obsequious to their current persecutors. In both cases, it is not the victims of genocide who lack courage. Rather, it is the great powers that have lacked the will to stop the slaughter and restore some common decency to our common home, Earth.

BRUCE J. EINHORN

Agoura Hills

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