Paweł Frenkiel (sometimes also Frenkel, Hebrew: פאוול פרנקל; 1920-1943) was a Polish Jewish youth leader in Warsaw and one of the senior commanders of the Jewish Military Union, or the ŻZW. Although one of the most important leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Jewish resistance in the months preceding April 1943, Frenkiel is also one of the least well-known to historians and both his earlier life and his ultimate fate are a subject of some controversy.
Following the outbreak of World War II, German conquest of Poland and the start of German repressions against the Jewish population of Poland, he joined the Jewish Military Union and became one of its' highest-ranking members. It is unclear what was his exact capacity. Earlier publications and accounts by Tadeusz Bednarczyk, Henryk Iwański and Kałmen Mendelson assert, that Paweł Frenkel was one of the deputies of JMU's commander Dawid Moryc Apfelbaum. However, other accounts, including those by Dawid Wdowiński and Cezary Szemley suggest, that Frenkiel was indeed the leader of the entire organisation. In recent years some historians went as far as to suggest that Apfelbaum did not even exist at all.
In any way, it is probable that Paweł Frenkiel personally commanded one of the armed companies of armed fighters during the ill-fated Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. According to a widespread opinion he was killed in action while defending the headquarters of the Jewish Military Union at #7 Muranów Square.
- (Polish) various authors (2007). In Dariusz Libionka. Zagłada Żydów: studia i materiały (Holocaust: studies and materials; journal of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research) (Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów Instytutu Filozofii i Socjologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk) (3): 320–331. ISSN 1895-247X.
- (Polish) "Żydowski Związek Wojskowy". Encyklopedia Powszechna PWN. Warsaw: PWN. 2005.
- (English) Marian Apfelbaum (2007). Two Flags: Return to the Warsaw Ghetto. Gefen Publishing House. pp. 56, 61. ISBN 9789652293565.
- (Polish) Życie codzienne warszawskiego getta; warszawskie getto i ludzie (1939-1945 i dalej) [Everyday life of the Warsaw Ghetto: Warsaw Ghetto and its' people]. Warsaw: Ojczyzna. 1995. ISBN 8386449020.
- (English) David Wdowinski; Chaim Lazar (1985). And we are not saved. Morris Chariton (2 ed.). New York: Philosophical Library. ISBN 0802224865.
- (Polish) Dariusz Libionka; Laurence Weinbaum (2007). "Pomnik Apfelabuma, czyli klątwa "majora" Iwańskiego" [Monument to Apfelbaum, or the curse of "Major" Iwański]. Więź (4): 100–111. ISSN 0511-9405.
- The controversy surrounding Apfelbaum's existence is further discussed in: (Polish) Dariusz Libionka; Laurence Weinbaum (2011). Bohaterowie, hochsztaplerzy, opisywacze: wokół Żydowskiego Związku Wojskowego [Heroes, Liars, Story-tellers: around the Jewish Military Union]. Warsaw: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, Polish Academy of Sciences. ISBN 9788393220281.