Dawid Wdowiński

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David Wdowinski
David Wdowinski - And We Are Not Saved (cover).jpg
Cover of And We Are Not Saved
by David Wdowinski
Born 1896
Died 1970
Occupation Historian, author
Notable works And We Are Not Saved

Dawid (David) Wdowiński (1896–1970) was a psychiatrist and doctor of neurology in the Second Polish Republic. After the 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, he became a political leader of the Jewish resistance organization called Żydowski Związek Wojskowy (Jewish Military Union, ŻZW) active before and during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He was a member of the right-wing organization Hatzohar founded in Paris in 1925.

Before World War II, Wdowiński was a chairman of the Revisionist Zionist party called Polska Partia Syjonistyczna. During the occupation of Poland, along with many Jews from the Polish Army and Polish Jewish political leaders including Dawid Apfelbaum, Józef Celmajster, Henryk Lifszyc, Kałmen Mendelson, Paweł Frenkel and Leon Rodl, he founded the clandestine ŻZW group in the Warsaw Ghetto.[1] He was never a military commander, serving instead as political head of the ŻZW. In 1963 he published his memoir, in which he told about his involvement with the ŻZW and the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.[2]

Importance of ŻZW[edit]

After the war, accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising were filtered through testimonies of former members of the left-leaning ŻOB. These accounts (also adopted by the postwar Polish Communist state) diminished both the roles and the importance of the ŻZW and Wdowiński. One such writer, Israel Guttman, was an activist in Ha'Shomer Ha'Tsair.[3] Guttman's perspective continued in authoritative citations of Barbara Engelking-Boni and the Polish Center for Holocaust Research, who described Wdowiński as a senior activist in the Polish branch of Ze'ev Jabotinsky's New Zionist Organization; i.e. the "revisionist leader in the ghetto [who, in his memoir] attributes himself in command of the fighting organisation of this political movement."[4] Another ŻOB fighter (Icchak Cukierman) wrote, "The Revisionists had seceded from the World Zionist Organization; and before the war, all socialist movements, including the Zionists, saw them as the Jewish ebodiminent of Fascism."[5] Wdowiński candidly noted the pro-Soviet political orientation of the leftist Jews following the Soviet invasion of Poland: "The second, the confused political orientation, was largely because many Jewish leaders were reared in the spirit of the Russian Revolution, and they thought they could translate the ideas of the class struggle into Zionist terms."[6] Wdowiński was fiercely opposed to any Jewish reconciliation with the Germans or their collaboration with Germany inside the ghettos and this theme pervades his memoirs as well as his correspondence.[7]


  1. ^ Chaim Lazar, Matsada shel Varsha (Tel Aviv: Machon Jabotinsky, 1963)
  2. ^ David Wdowiński (1963). And We Are Not Saved (222 pages). New York: Philosophical Library. ISBN 0802224865. Note: Chariton and Lazar were never co-authors of Wdowiński's memoir. Wdowiński is considered the single author. 
  3. ^ Israel Gutman Walka bez cienia nadziei (Struggle Without a Ray of Hope), 166, 224.
  4. ^ Warsaw Ghetto: Details of Chosen Records. Warszawa.Getto.pl.
  5. ^ (English) Yitzhak Zuckerman" (1993). A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 702. ISBN 0520078411. , pp. 226-27, n.
  6. ^ Wdowiński 1963, p. 5.
  7. ^ Laurence Weinbaum, "Epizod z biografii Dawida Wdowińskiego", Zagłada Żydów. Studia i Materiały, IX, 2013

External links[edit]