Marek Edelman 1919 - 2009
When asked what the most important thing in life was, Marek Edelman replied: “In principle the most important thing is life. And when there’s life already, then the most important thing is freedom. And then you give your life for freedom. And then it is no longer clear what is most important”
Marek Edelman was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and one of the few members of the Jewish Combat Organization who survived. He was the only one who remained in Poland. Asked why, he replied: “My people are buried here. I have stayed because I am the keeper of Jewish graves.”
In Poland Marek Edelman was not, however, only the “keeper of Jewish graves”. His post-War biography is the best example of presence in Polish history of the last sixty years. He took part in the Warsaw Uprising, fighting in Śródmieście and Żoliborz. Although as a young lad he joined the socialist movement, he was never taken in by communism. The fact that the Jewish Socialist Party Bund in 1948 rejected a proposal to join the Communist Party [PZPR – the Polish United Workers’ Party] and disbanded was thanks to him.
He was linked with the democratic opposition through friends and through his sense of civic responsibility for Poland. He had seen so much death at such a young age, that later he saw his only choice as being to become a doctor and fight death.
During 1981 he was chosen as its delegate to the First Congress of "Solidarność”. He was interned during martial law, then continued to be active first in the underground opposition, then later he took part in the Round Table Talks and in the Polish Sejm.
In free Poland his voice was always to be heard in important civic matters.
Wiecznej pamięci Вічна пам’ять Eternal Memory
From a text by the Editors of Gazeta Wyborcza