Simcha Rotem, the last known Jewish fighter from the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Nazis, passed away at 94.
Rotem, who went by the underground nickname “Kazik,” took part in the act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.
Rotem, who passed away after a long illness, helped save the last survivors of the uprising by smuggling them out of the burning ghetto through sewage tunnels.
The Jewish fighters fought for nearly a month, fortifying themselves in bunkers and managing to kill 16 Nazis and wound nearly 100.
Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, Hy”d.
After the war, Rotem immigrated to pre-state Israel and fought in its war of independence. He was later an active speaker and member of the Yad Vashem committee responsible for selecting the Righteous Among the Nations, non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. In 2013, on the revolt’s 70th anniversary, he was honored by Poland for his role in the war.
“This is a loss of a special character since Kazik was a real fighter, in the true sense of the word,” said Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Yerushalayim. “The challenge for all of us now is to continue giving meaning to remembrance without exemplary figures like Kazik.”
Rotem is survived by his two children and five grandchildren.