Anniversaries & holidays

105th birth anniversary of Marek Edelman

Marek Edelman stoi z odkrytą głową w deszczu. W ręku trzyma kilka żonkili. Wokół niego osoby ukryte pod parasolami. 65. rocznica powstania w getcie warszawskim, przy Kopcu Anielewicza
Fot. Anna B. Bohdziewicz/REPORTER, Warszawa, kwiecień 2008, 65. rocznica powstania w getcie warszawskim, przy Kopcu Anielewicza

Today marks 105 years since the birth of Marek Edelman, leader of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, esteemed cardiologist, tirless social and political activist.

Marek Edelman is remembered as one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a highly esteemed cardiologist, and an opposition activist. His commitment to social issues, meanwhile, seems to be falling into oblivion:

  • his humanitarian interventions during the wars in the Balkans and Chechnya;
  • his defence of Cuban oppositionists sentenced by kangaroo courts and of Romani people in Poland and the Czech Republic;
  • his response to anti-Semitism, to the persecution of HIV positive people.

Until the end of his life, he took a stand on socially important issues, appearing at conferences, tackling difficult subjects in public speeches and interviews, signing appeals and writing letters expressing his support for the disenfranchised.

He warned decision-makers against refraining from strong reactions to ongoing conflicts in the world, defining such a strategy as "short-sighted and suicidal." He argued that prolonged wars inevitably lead to destabilisation in the region and only spark subsequent conflicts. An economic and humanitarian crisis in one place, he argued, would sooner or later affect the rest of the world: "the wall protecting the rich will not last long, for hunger knows and respects no boundaries and no obstacles: millions of hungry people will penetrate the smallest gap."

Whatever the circumstances, to the end of his life Edelman talked not only about what he himself had experienced, but also about the experiences of those in need here and now.

You can read the entire article on Virtual Shtetl →