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 Boruch Spiegel courtesy

The following was originally published by Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership at and is reprinted here with permission.

Most people probably know about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in January 1943, and how a relatively small number of armed Jewish resistance fighters held off Nazi attacks. Over time, as ammunition ran out and Nazi tactics became more extreme, the efforts petered out over about a month. The lesson to be learned, however, was that only by having the means to fight – ergo being armed – was there at least a chance to be able to survive . . .

Genocide throughout history has only been successful following disarmament, thus removing the ability to fight on remotely equal terms and so have any means of self-defense. It is events such as this which highlight the reason for vigorously defending our innate rights protected by the Second Amendment.

 What follows is an excerpt from a New York Times obituary about Boruch Spiegel, one of the very last survivors of the uprising. There is an index page on JPFO related to various items about or referencing the Ghetto Uprising, which are well worth checking out.

Boruch Spiegel, one of the last surviving fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, in which a vastly outgunned band of 750 young Jews held off German soldiers for more than a month with crude arms and Molotov cocktails, died on May 9 in Montreal aged 93.

His death was confirmed by his son, Julius, a retired parks commissioner of Brooklyn. Mr. Spiegel lived in Montreal.

The Warsaw ghetto uprising has been regarded as the signal episode of resistance to the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum calls it the first armed urban rebellion in German-occupied Europe.

As a young man, Mr. Spiegel was active in the leftist Jewish Labor Bund, and when it became clear that the Germans were not just deporting Jews but systematically killing them in death camps like Treblinka, Bundists joined with other left-wing groups to form the Jewish Combat Organization, known by its Polish acronym ZOB.

In January 1943, when German soldiers entered the ghetto for another deportation — 300,000 Jews had already been sent to Treblinka or otherwise murdered in the summer of 1942 — ZOB fighters fought back for three days and killed or wounded several dozen Germans, seized weapons and forced the stunned Germans to retreat.

“We didn’t have enough weapons, we didn’t have enough bullets,” Mr. Spiegel once told an interviewer. “It was like fighting a well-equipped army with firecrackers.”

In the early morning of April 19, the eve of Passover, a German force, equipped with tanks and artillery, tried again, surrounding the ghetto walls. Mr. Spiegel was on guard duty and, according to his son-in-law, Eugene Orenstein, a retired professor of Jewish history at McGill University, gave the signal to launch the uprising. The scattered ZOB fighters, joined by a right-wing Zionist counterpart, peppered the Germans from attics and underground bunkers, sending the Germans into retreat once more. Changing tactics, the Germans began using flamethrowers to burn down the ghetto house by house and smoke out those in hiding. On May 8, ZOB’s headquarters, at 18 Mila Street, was destroyed. The group’s commander, Mordechai Anielewicz, is believed to have taken his own life, but scattered resistance continued for several more weeks in what was now rubble.

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  1. As someone of Russian Jewish, Welsh and Lakota descent, I say never again.

    There, or here.

    • Damn, Russ, your peeps were a lot more mobile than mine. We define our national heritage by Boro. And by the way, Queens people and Bronx people do not mix.

      • Way back when, they were.

        Fiddler on the Roof is my mother’s family history. They moved to Poland at the end of the 1800’s, then got out just before Shickelgruber’s Horde got in.

        My father’s people fled Puritanism by going to what became Canada, then came south in the 1830’s.

        My paternal grandfather was a halfbreed, and an aviation instructor during WWI.

        They’re not so mobile now – all congregated in So Cal. All save my mom, who’s a mountain woman living away from the cities, and m’self.

  2. So I suppose forgetting history and letting the bad men we are supposed to stop carve our laws and create the very thing this article refers to is what we should do? You disarm a population to control them. That is what happens. What more guide could history be?

  3. Thanks for this, Dan. I wasn’t aware of this leader.

    One of the lesser known but very nasty aspects of the uprising is that the Russian Army was encamped for two weeks opposite the city but deliberately did nothing to help. They might have simply shelled the German positions, or merely warned the Germans that they would shell them if the Germans did not desist. But they did nothing. They apparently wanted the Germans and the Poles both as weak as possible before they took control.

    • Exactly so. The generals on the ground were not happy with teir orders, but did not rebel. The Poles were fellow Slavs, and many Russians openly expressed dismay at what was happening, and Stalin’s orders to let it continue.

      One wonders whether the armies of Russia might at least have even tempted to turn on their governmeant during the “Great Patriotic War?” Alas, we shall never know.

      • With armed Commissars and political officers at their backs, Russian soldiers were very careful to keep moving west.

        • Very true.

          Little known is that General G.A. Custer was actually sympathetic to the plight of the natives, arguing their case repeatedly before Congress and his superiors.

          That didn’t stop him from following orders, though.

          History is full of “my country, right or wrong.”

    • Sorry but you are mixing up dates and battles. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was in 1943. The incident you’re talking about took place during the Battle of Warsaw in 1944. The Russians were nowhere near Warsaw in 1943. They did do or rather not do as you say but it has nothing to do with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which is the subject being discussed.

    • Thanks. Jim B offered that correction, too (see above).

      As for your other point, it depends what you mean by “holding off” the Germans. Preventing German troops from fighting their other enemies by forcing them to deal with you for a few weeks is one way of holding them off. The total number of killed on each side is only part of the story.

  4. Great stuff. There was an excellent section in Unintended Consequences about the Warsaw uprising.

  5. “Genocide throughout history has only been successful following disarmament, thus removing the ability to fight on remotely equal terms and so have any means of self-defense.”

    [Citation needed]

    History only shows that most genocides come from the guns of an occupying group, not that genocide naturally follows from disarmament. Or that disarmament is a necessary condition of genocide–TONS of genocides and ethnic cleansings in areas awash with guns and militants.

    • While that it technically true, disarmament enforce a purge is more common than not.

      Disarmament bad. Just look at our indigenous peoples and say it can’t happen here.

      • They weren’t disarmed. They were overwhelmed by superior numbers and arms. There’s a difference, just having access to a gun doesn’t make one free.

        Sure, AFTER they were mostly ethnically cleansed already, they were put into safe little camps, but this was largely after they were a broken people. And even after that there were a few who resisted and so they were dealt with as the modern US treats “militants.”

        The Israelis are now using the same technique against the Palestinians. Hamas will occasionally fire off a wildly innacurate rocket that couldn’t blow up a yugo (even if it hit it). The Israelis drop white phosophorous.

        Certainly, removing any ability to effectively respond has a demoralizing effect on a subdued population, I agree. But it’s not as simple as “Disarm then Genocide”

        • Selling modern firearms to “Injuns” would get one lynched.

          Had they more than they could scavenge, things might’ve been different.

      • Indigenous people were suppressed by disease far more effectively than by force of arms. I don’t think Indians with more robust immune systems would have been as easy to defeat.

        • This is a recent historical falsehood. The Indian’s immune systems weren’t any weaker than the Europeans, nor were the Europeans somehow “more filthy” than they were. For a comparison of first contact effects, look at the surviving diaries from the Cortez and Pizzaro expeditions. The Spaniards were sick *constantly*!

          What differed was their response to disease. Though they were hundreds of years away from germ theory and antibiotics, Europeans’ reaction was to quarantine an ill individual and change their diet. The Indians, especially in South America, kept sleeping in the same rooms with afflicted individuals, shared meals with them, and – specifically with the Aztecs and Incas – would consider eating the flesh of the deceased to prevent their power from being lost.

          So yeah, small pox, et al, kicked their ass. But it’s utterly ridiculous to say things like “the American natives had no resistance to Variola vera.” NO community has resistance to small pox before the disease sweeps through. Those who “had resistance” were the 50-25% who didn’t die after it burned through a particular area.

        • It wasn’t that their immune systems weren’t “robust”; they were.

          It’s that their immune systems were overwhelmed by diseases they had never been exposed to; thus their immune systems never had an opportunity to develop antibodies to them.

        • William, the Spaniards, English, and French were all in the same situation. If anything, they had it worse. The Indians only faced what diseases the colonists brought with them, while the Europeans were presented with an entire continent of new deadly maladies.

          What mattered was the cultural response to infection.

        • It’s not cultural, it’s biological. Europeans have come from a multi-continental agglomeration (Eurasia/Africa) that was more populated, more densely populated and larger. All of those factors lead to higher number of diseases, which the Native Americans had no immunity to. There was flow backwards as well – Syphilis was imported from Americans to Eurasia, and at the time was a much more lethal disease than in contemporary times.

    • “History only shows that most genocides come from the guns of an occupying group, not that genocide naturally follows from disarmament. Or that disarmament is a necessary condition of genocide–TONS of genocides and ethnic cleansings in areas awash with guns and militants.”

      Citation needed.

      • All of subsaharan africa, the balkans, the asiatic steppes, southeast asia, the rape of nanking, Japan’s destruction of manchuria?

        • Your point is valid – genocide does not require disarmament. It simply requires evil intent and the means to act upon it.

          I would offer that while genocide does not require disarmament, the counter argument is still true, at least in the 20th century – disarmament by a totalitarian state has always led to genocide. Soviet Union. Germany. Cambodia, etc. If you don’t have a totalitarian state (e.g., UK), disarmament does not necessarily lead to genocide (at least yet). Of course said disarmament does increase the incidence of violent crime. See UK and Australian crime statistics.

          The only way genocide works is through application of force that overwhelms a people’s ability to protect themselves from it. I would offer that it is a fairly simple equation. Increase capability and will of response and decrease likelihood of genocide.

          And yes, the US government did disarm Native Americans. Was a necessary pre-condition to life on many reservations. No more hunting, we’ll feed you, of course until we don’t, but that is another story.

        • State-sanctioned genocide; such as those carried out by Hitler, Mao, Stalin et al did require large-scale disarmament of their victims.

        • And there are a bunch of examples of disarmament then genocide too (Armenian Turks, American Indians, European Jews, Ugandan Christians). I’m saying you can’t call out someone for not providing a citation, then not provide one yourself.

        • I think it’s kind of disingenuous to use the USSR, Nazi Germany, Khmer Cambodia of examples of that too.

          The USSR and Khmer Cambodia were all totalitarian states following a violent and bloody civil war. In the case of the USSR, Tsarist Russia was awash with guns–not coincidentally, this is what enabled them to gain such an upper hand on the Tsar first, and then the Bolsheviks against the Mensheviks. The people who often make the claims of genocide are the Ukranians, and their gun ownership was quite high prior to Stalin sending in the Red Army in response to their resistance.

          In the case of the Cambodians, another civil war. The same things apply: tons of guns, already there and coming from neighboring war zones.

          Ugandan genocide: another civil war. Armenian genocide: during world war I. Even the supposed “gun control” of Hitler came at the hands of the French, who disarmed the entire country following WWI. Hitler actually widened gun ownership (though only to people that he chose),

          These examples keep being trotted out by conservatives as evidence of the great historical trend that gun control = genocide, but they prove exactly the opposite: Gun control follows subjugation, and the lack of that right is just clustered with any other rights that have been deprived by the occupying group.

          Again, the Palestinians are another good example. They are denied arms, but they are also denied food, clothing, shelter, and are systematically demoralized by the Israeli government.

          If you’re trying to prove that subjugated peoples are not often given rights, then I agree. But it hardly proves that gun control laws lead inevitably to genocide. It’s a dumb talking point, and one that diverges from the real important fact: that weapon ownership is a right, indistinguishable from any other rights.

        • Don’t let him get you down, Russ. He’s just trying to seek plenary indulgence for how much he hates himself and the wealthy society he luxuriates in.

        • It’s funny how he keeps finding a way to bring up the Palestinians. Those poor people are so oppressed. They are denied arms and the means to make a properly working suicide bomber vest. Most of the time the vest only blows up a few people instead of the intended target of 50-60 woman and children on the bus. That has to be so demoralizing.

          Rtempleton perhaps you can show them how to properly suicide bomb innocent people.

        • Oh, of course, matt. I should have known from your prior specious argument: it’s not that you care about historical accuracy; you just can’t stand anyone saying anything good about the Jews.

          Duly noted for future reference.

        • Yes, matt, he was. He was quite obviously mocking the idea that the Palestinian Arabs are the victims of Israel.

          And if I were the editor here, I’d ban you for your vicious little joke about the Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst, who served under orders of the Nazis.

          I’m sorry you have the anti-Judaism sickness. The result is always permanent moral and intellectual retardation.

        • Why should I not bring up Palestinians? They are oppressed by a tyrannical state that keeps them in ghettos, denies them rights, like food, water, shelter, medical care or self protection.

          Why shouldn’t the occupied Palestinians act out in any way possible? Isn’t this *literally* the reason most people on this site want to own guns for? To protect themselves from tyranny?

          You can like Islam or not, but if you don’t support the Palestinians attempts to protect themselves from tyranny by any means necessary then you’re clearly a hypocrite.

        • A note for non-Russian speakers: Google Translate does not always offer a natural-sounding response. Matt, the website is not run by Zionists. In point of fact it is run by an anti-Zionist who has a rational historically-based anger toward the Zionists’ choice of who to save and who not to save late in WWII and the aftermath. I think he’s posted on the fate of Hungarian jews not considered sufficiently educated to be worth saving.

  6. Ralph, just a comment on defining your heritage by Boro. This is NOT a shot at you.

    But I do think that a large part of the anti-gun problem, and various other culture conflicts in the US arises from the fact that so many New Yorkers and other inhabitants of major cities hardly ever get outside the confines of their cities.

    I have, many times, been regarded as a simple bumpkin, or as some sort of strange wild creature by somebody who has hardly ever gotten outside of New York, or Chicago, or Minneapolis, or San Francisco, etc. etc.

    Of course, the city dwellers regard themselves as the most worldly, knowledgeable, and wise people……even though they are often the ones who hardly ever travel more than a few miles for their own neighborhoods.

    One example….I had a conversation with a New Yorker who raved about the “organic produce” he could get just around the corner in the little market. He loved the tomatoes, especially.

    Turns out, he didn’t know tomatoes came of a vine. Couldn’t believe I routinely grew my own in the back yard. Couldn’t believe that I had an actual back yard with dirt and grass and a place to grow tomatoes and every thing.

    I didn’t tell him that I also shot deer and squirrels in my back yard and ate them. I figured growing my own tomatoes was a big enough shock for him.

    • I met a Bostonian PhD that was astonished I originally haled from the midwest, yet “had no accent”. He thought everyone south of Connecticut spoke like an Alabaman.

    • @hillbilly, New Yorkers are the most solipsistic people on the face of the Earth. Living in a hive will do that. Travel only reinforces New Yorkers’ sense of cultural superiority.

      That attitude changed for the better after 9/11, when people from flyover country saved New York’s @ss. But almost twelve years of Imperial rule has restored New York to its previous level of contemptuousness.

      Were there another 9/11 type disaster in NY, rescue would once again come from outside, because that’s what good people do. But I can’t help but feel that the rest of the country would care just little a bit less.

      • You said it well. There are pockets of common sense outside Manhattan, particularly among blue-collar workers (such as Staten Island, full of policemen and firefighters).

        I think the NYC population is becoming more degraded, though, mainly through the influx of the rich and famous, along with yuppies and artists. I’m not sure a man like Giuliani could get elected again.

      • I was at a trade convention in Atlanta a couple of years ago and sat next to a man from Manhattan at a luncheon. He and his wife had rented a car for a day and drove out into the countryside. He told me he was scared the whole time because he did not see any police and knew there were a lot of people with guns “out there.”

        We had a nice long talk about guns and self-defense and even crime rates in large populations with strict gun control vs. “out there.”

  7. As a son and grandson of survivors of the Holocaust, this is a perfect example of why “Never Again” includes arming myself so I can protect my family. I am here today because my grandfather became a member of the armed resistance in Slovakia and my grandmother, may they both rest in peace, was a warrior of her own kind, moving my father’s family from town to town, protecting and hiding them from the Nazis.

    Rest in peace, Baruch Spiegel. May your memory be for a blessing.

    • Whenever I hear all this sympathy for the poor oppressed terroristic rocket-firing Palestinians, I recall that they are, after all, Arab Muslims & part of a larger Arab world comprising over 300 million in total spread over 22 nations without even counting the Iranians, and all violently sworn to the destruction of Israel as well as the extermination of the Jews.

      Therefore I say, when the day arrives that six million beleagured Arab Muslims find themselves surrounded by three hundred million screaming Jews, then I’ll begin to sympathize with the Arabs, and not before.

      Let’s do some math…….

  8. To quote Rooster Cogburn seems apropos. “You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don’t have time to think about how many is with him. He thinks about himself, how he might clear of the wrath that is about to set down on him.”

  9. I don’t know if being disarmed is a requirement for a genocide. But it certainly makes the killers jobs easier. And it’a a moot point with the 2a anyway. I have the right to keep and bear arms and I choose to do so.

  10. I choose to have FA weapons but then I found out about the “law” that tells me NO. I am stuck in-between my desire to exercise my right and to remain “law abiding”.

    Being a good, honest citizen is a PIA and is a moral restraint that we put on ourselves that our enemy does not have the disadvantage of.

  11. This is why that guy, who wants to do the armed march into DC, needs to be regarded with extreme suspicion. I think he’s a plant, but I can’t be sure. Anyoneelse have the same suspicions?

  12. My people hammered the Jews long before they managed to organize the NKVD. The British and the Americans however saw to it that Jewish Terror would indeed be allowed to hunt the native good folk of Europe for over 70 years.

    We still have not surrendered to these animal brutes.

  13. “We didn’t have enough weapons, we didn’t have enough bullets,” Mr. Spiegel once told an interviewer. “It was like fighting a well-equipped army with firecrackers.”

    The progressive Democrats’ dream for America.

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