On March 10th we hosted a short seminar on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The seminar was centered on Ronen Zaretzky’s 2006 film “The Last Fighters.” The day included a historical lecture on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a screening of the film and discussion with its director, and a panel with Professor Hadas Wiseman with two daughters of the fighters featured in the film.
Dr. Nili Keren, a researcher at the Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv gave an insightful historical lecture on the uprising. She talked about the life in the ghetto, the different youth movements involved in the uprising, the ways in which they worked together, and the impact the uprising has had on the historical narrative of the Holocaust around the world.
The documentary follows the last six living fighters (Kazik Rotem, Masha Futermilch-Gleitman, Pnina Greenspan, Aharon Carmi, Brunk Spigel and Marek Edelman) of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. Hearing Zaretzky describe the process of working with these six outstanding individuals was inspiring both because of their stories and the way Zaretzky was able to connect with the subjects of the film in such a personal way. The authenticity of his relationships was obvious based on the way he interacted with Pnina’s daughter, Netta Gold and Masha’s daughter Rochi Narkis.
Professor Hadas Wiseman then interviewed the two daughters about what it was like to grow up with parents who had been fighters in the Holocaust. They spoke about what life was like in their homes, how they understood the Israeli interpretation of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and how they feel about the way their story is represented today.
The seminar looked at the important memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising from multiple angles, creating an interesting dialogue between scholars, artists, and the family members of those involved in the actual event.