Bernard Goldstein was born in 1889 and became a leader of the Jewish workers organization, the Bund and in the Jewish underground resistance during the Second World War. After fleeing the Ghetto and eventually Poland, he immigrated to America where he wrote the memior of the five and a half years he spent in the Warsaw ghetto.
Five Years in the Warsaw Ghettoby Bernard Goldstein
Born in a small town outside of Warsaw in 1889, Bernard Goldstein joined the Jewish labor organization, the Bund, at age 16 and dedicated his life to organizing workers and resisting tyranny. Goldstein spent time in prisons from Warsaw to Siberia, took part in the Russian Revolution and was a respected organizer within the vibrant labor movement in independent
Born in a small town outside of Warsaw in 1889, Bernard Goldstein joined the Jewish labor organization, the Bund, at age 16 and dedicated his life to organizing workers and resisting tyranny. Goldstein spent time in prisons from Warsaw to Siberia, took part in the Russian Revolution and was a respected organizer within the vibrant labor movement in independent Poland.
In 1939, with the Nazi invasion of Poland and establishment of the Jewish Ghetto, Goldstein and the Bund went underground—organizing housing, food and clothing within the ghetto; communicating with the West for support; and developing a secret armed force. Smuggled out of the ghetto just before the Jewish militia’s heroic last stand, Goldstein assisted in procuring guns to aid those within the ghetto’s walls and aided in the fight to free Warsaw. After the liberation of Poland, Goldstein emigrated to America, where he penned this account of his five-and-a-half years within the Warsaw ghetto and his brave comrades who resisted to the end. His surprisingly modest and frank depiction of a community under siege at a time when the world chose not to intervene is enlightening, devastating and ultimately inspiring.
“His active leadership before the war and his position in the Jewish underground during it qualify him as the chronicler of the last hours of Warsaw’s Jews. Out of the tortured memories of those five-and-a-half years, he has brought forth the picture with all its shadings—the good with the bad, the cowardly with the heroic, the disgraceful with the glorious. This is his valedictory, his final service to the Jews of Warsaw.”—Leonard Shatzkin
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Bernard Goldstein has fallen into the abyss of oblivion. He doesn't even receive mention in Wikipedia. This book, rescued from obscurity by the Nabat division of AK Press, is most worthy of attention and reading. It relates the true story of Goldstein, a dedicated Socialist revolutionist and founding member of the Jewish Bund and his perilous existance in pre-war and wartime Poland. While numerous insights into the arcane workings of various left-wing splinter factions emerge from the dust of the past in this book, it's real value is in the depiction of life in the hellish Warsaw Ghetto and the struggle of the occupants to survive. Of course, the vast majority were immolated in Nazi death camps or were starved to death. Many others fell victim to epidemics and deliberate overwork. Only a tiny minority survived and some of these met an unfortunate outburst of viscous Polish anti-Jewish activity after the Nazis were evicted from Poland. Goldstein was there for all this and, thanks to a combination of skill, connections, luck and brains, somehow managed to survive to write this remembrance. I was unable to determine his post-war course even the date of his death remains obscure. Nonetheless, this is an important and worthwhile history, though it would probably appeal most directly to dedicated students of the War.