Israel and Poland pay tribute to last Ghetto Uprising survivor

Aged 17. Simcha Rotem, known as Kazik, fought in and survived the 1944 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. He died in Jerusalem on Saturday aged 94. After escaping the besieged city through the drainage system, Rotem returned to join the revolt. It lasted 63 days before being crushed by the Nazis leaving 13,000 people dead. Kazik and his fellow Jewish partisans said they preferred to die fighting instead of in a gas chamber, where the Nazis had already sent more than 300,000 Warsaw Jews. After the war, he came to Israel and later fought in the Israel army. In 2013, Simcha Rotem was awarded Poland’s Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “His story will be with our people forever.” President Reuven Rivlin said: “Thank you for everything, Kazik. We promise to try every day to be deserving of the description ‘human’.” Born in Warsaw in 1924, he was a “hero of two nations, Poland and Israel,” the Polish President’s Office tweeted.

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