Poland honored the last surviving member of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on Sunday, a day after he passed away at the age of 94.
Simcha ‘Kazik’ Rotem (originally Ratajzer) passed away Saturday in Jerusalem, the last of the Jewish combatants in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943.
Rotem was born in Warsaw in 1924, and was one of hundreds of Jewish fighters who, beginning on April 19th 1943, launched the uprising against the Nazi deportation of ghetto residents to the Treblinka death camp.
On Sunday, the City of Warsaw publicly honored Rotem, with local law enforcement officers laying wreaths in his memory and observing a moment of silence.
Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski organized the ceremony in honor of Rotem, and tweeted the Hebrew blessing recited for the dead.
“Simcha Ratajzer-Rotem has died, a member of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto,” tweeted Trzaskowski. “He fought in the Warsaw Uprising. Honorary citizen of Warsaw. Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet!”
President Andrzej Duda also paid his respects to Rotem, tweeting on the official presidential Twitter account “Simcha Rathajzer-Rotem, the last fighter of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, has died. After the fall of the Uprising he organised help for dozens of surviving fighters, a participant of the Warsaw Uprising. Hero of two nations: the Polish and the Israeli one. May his memory live on!”
Jonny Daniels, President of "From The Depths", an organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust, vowed the Rotem’s memory “will never be forgotten”.
“It’s so important to remember the bravery of Simcha Rotem of blessed memory, a true fighter of the Jewish people, both in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and later in the Israeli Defense Forces, the memory of this hero will never be forgotten.”