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Two Flags: Return to the Warsaw Ghetto

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-9652293565
ISBN-10: 9652293563
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marian Apfelbaum spent the war in Warsaw, first within the ghetto, and then in the Aryan area, hidden by numerous Catholics. After the war, he came to Paris and became a physician and finally professor of nutrition. He has written numerous books in his field.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Gefen Publishing House (August 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9652293563
  • ISBN-13: 978-9652293565
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,670,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I learned about this book only recently when I was researching my blog post about the Polish Members of the European Parliament boycotting anti-Israeli anti-Semitic hatefest organized by UN. This book tells the story of a less known resistance organization in the Warsaw Ghetto called Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowy, or ZZW, which is Polish for Jewish Military Union. I first learned about ZZW when I read "The Bravest Battle" by Dan Kurzman. It was an organization formed by the Jewish officers of the Polish Army. They obviously had personal connections with the other Polish officers. Politically members of the ZZW were followers of my fellow odessit Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of Revisionist Zionism, an ideology similar to the modern Likud party in Israel. Because of the personal links the ZZW members had with the Polish resistance and because they were not Communist, the ZZW received significantly more help from the Polish Home Army than the leftist-leaning ZOB. Political views of the ZZW members are pretty close to my own political views. So, I was very interested to read a book that tells their story.

So, what have I learned that I did not know before? Well, first of all it turns out that ZZW was founded much earlier than ZOB: November of 1939 vs. July of 1942. ZZW was not smaller than ZOB: about 500 core members, the same as ZOB. Thus, since ZZW was much better armed than ZOB and had better military training, they had to be much more effective. So, why did ZZW receive more help from the Polish Home Army than ZOB? I mentioned personal contacts and pro-capitalist ideology. But, as it turns out, it was more than that. ZZW was in fact a part of the Polish Home Army, so much so, that ZZW members were getting rank promotions from the Home Army.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This account of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a tragic and real event, is written by someone who was actually there Marian Apfelbaum.

It covers a completely neglected story of a the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

There were two main fighting organisations in the Ghetto; the ZZW formed with the encouragement and help of the Polish AK in 1939 and the Communist leaning ZOB formed much later. ZZW were predominately ex-Polish army officers and NCO's who had good contacts with the Polish resistance outside of the Ghetto. The actions appear to be attributed to the ZOB when in fact it was the ZZW that inflicted the bulk of the casualties on the nazis.

"The ZOB came into existance at the end of 1942...It had practically no experianced officers and few weapons - 90 pistols, 500 defensive grenades, 100 attack grenades, 15 kilos of plastic explosive, detonators, a light machine gun, a sub machine gun, all arms supplied by the AK" M.A.

The Poles supplied enough armaments to the ZZW for them to be armed 100%. In perspective only 1 in 15 Polish partisans who took part in the Warsaw Uprising the following year had a fire-arm. The Poles were not as generous with the ZOB, because they did not know the members, were not interested in aiding Communist leaning organisations and did not believe the ZOB would fight.

The importance the Poles placed on the organisation of the ZZW can be shown by this passage in "Two Flags".."A meeting that took place at the urging of the OW-KB (AK) on January 10 1940, was to have decisive and far reaching political consequences. Participating on behalf of the AK was Zofia Sikorska-Lesniowska, General Sikorski's daughter...and high ranking officers and political leaders. The main guest was Adam Czerniakow, chairman of the Warsaw Judenrat".
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Format: Paperback
Let's complement Eric-Odessit's excellent review. Besides describing the long-neglected role of the ZZW, this study, made by an author related to Captain Apfelbaum (p. 227), also highlights the long-forgotten Polish role.

In his FEAR, Jan T. Gross selectively cites Polish priests and individuals who avoided helping Jews, or even betrayed them, because they believed that the Holocaust was God's will. Ironic to this, Apfelbaum (p. 116, 118) notes that Jewish armed resistance was delayed because of religious Jews' objections to it.

Most, if not all, Holocaust films show the Jews' weapons appearing magically out of nowhere, or some stingy Pole selling one measly rusty gun for an exorbitant price. In actuality, Poles gave 92 guns to the ZOB (p. 330) and 678 guns to the ZZW (p. 184); this in addition to thousands of grenades and explosives, military training, etc. The meager stocks of arms that the Poles possessed is proved not only by the Poles' own Warsaw Uprising over a year later, but also (not mentioned) the limited capability of Poles to create defended villages (samoobrony) against the fascist-separatist OUN-UPA genocidal onslaught against Poles in the mixed Ukrainian-Polish regions of German-occupied Poland. Indeed, a samoobrona possessing even 50 firearms would've considered itself well-armed!

Apfelbaum (p. 204) recognizes the Polish guerrillas' direct combat in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in the form of the "Polish bandits" in The Stroop Report: The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw Is No More!. (See also Apfelbaum, p. 217, 222-223, 334-335, etc.). Despite the inevitable contradictions between survivors' accounts, there are important convergences.
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