Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, was the fighter who stayed behind.

Unlike his fellow surviving uprising leaders, Edelman did not leave Poland after the war. A Bundist, he was not attracted to Palestine; a socialist, perhaps he was not quite ready to become a capitalist in the United States. Or maybe he simply could not leave the dead behind.

Edelman, whose father died when he was young, was left an orphan when his mother died during his early teens.

As a young Bundist in the Warsaw Ghetto, Edelman joined forces with the Zionists and other leftist groups to form the Jewish Fighting Organization. Their dreams for the future differed radically, but their dread for the present was identical.

When the mass deportations from the ghetto commenced on July 23, 1942, the Jewish population did not initially engage in armed resistance. Over the next 60 days, more than 265,000 Jews were deported to the newly opened Treblinka, where almost all were gassed upon arrival.

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