Simcha Rotem

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Simcha Rotem
שמחה רותם וחניכות הנוער העובד והלומד.jpg
Simcha Rotem with HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed members Meron Derso and Ortal Afram
Born (1924-02-10) February 10, 1924 (age 94)
Warsaw, Poland
Nationality Polish, Israeli
Known for Member of the Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (Jewish Combat Organization), participant in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Warsaw Uprising

Simcha Rotem (born 1924 Simcha (Szymon) Rathajzer , also known as Kazik his nom de guerre) is an Israeli veteran, who was a member of the Jewish underground in Warsaw, and served as the head courier of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB), which planned and executed the Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Nazis. He was a member of the "Akiva" youth movement.

The Second World War[edit]

The Warsaw ghetto[edit]

In 1942 he joined the ZOB. Rotem became particularly useful as a courier for the Warsaw Ghetto fighters. The nickname "Kazik"—an abbreviation of a Polish name "Kazimierz" (Casimir), which means in Polish "someone who destroys opponent's prestige/glory during battle".

A tribute to Simcha Rotem, Monument to Evacuation of the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters in Warsaw

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and aftermath[edit]

As a ZOB member, Kazik took part in the Warsaw ghetto uprising. He became the head courier, reporting directly to the ZOB commander on the Gentile side, Yitzhak Zuckerman. (The ZOB commander in general was Mordechai Anielewicz). When it became apparent that the Germans would prevail, he was sent via a secret passageway to the Gentile side of Warsaw where he met with Zuckerman to arrange an escape for the fighters. However, the passageway was discovered by the Nazis. Unable to return, he and Zuckerman were trapped on the Gentile side while the fighting raged and the ghetto burned. Desperate to reach his comrades, Rotem made several attempts to enter the ghetto through the sewers before finally succeeding. There he encountered Zivia Lubetkin, one of the last surviving leaders of the ghetto uprising, and he led her with her team of approximately 80 fighters through the sewers to the Gentile side and then to the forests outside of the city. Throughout the rest of the war he continued his underground activities with the resistance, in particular helping to care for the several thousand Jews, who still remained in Warsaw in hiding. In August 1944, he took part in the Polish Warsaw Uprising.

Post-war life[edit]

Immediately following the end of World War II, Rotem took part in the Beriha organization, that helped European Jews immigrate to Mandate Palestine, despite the restrictions imposed by the British Mandatory policies (White Paper of 1939). Although his twelve-year-old sister was murdered in the ghetto uprising, his parents and another sister survived in hiding and, in 1947, he and the surviving members of his family immigrated to Mandate Palestine. He now lives in Jerusalem. As of 2018, he is one of two survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.[1][2]

In the 2001 TV Mini-Series Uprising he is portrayed by actor Stephen Moyer.

Awards and decorations[edit]



  1. ^ Tzur, Nissan (April 21, 2013). "Ghetto Fighter: We Wanted to Choose How We Would Die". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ "As their numbers dwindle, Jews who fought Nazis recall the struggle". The Seattle Times. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018. 

External links[edit]