Saturday, October 03, 2009

Reading the Obits | Slog | The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

Marek Edelman was a Polish Jew and just 20 years-old when the Germans invaded. He was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, watched as the Nazi death machine reduced the ghetto's population from a high of 500,000 to 60,000, and then helped lead the Warsaw Uprising. A small number of lightly armed Jews—220 men and women—held off the Nazi army for three weeks. Edelman, who had been resident of the part of Warsaw that became the ghetto, was able to slip away with fifty other fighters after the uprising was put down. He stayed in Warsaw after the war, became a doctor, and would later be imprisoned—again—by the communists for his role in the Solidarity movement. He died last week at the improbable age of 90. Here's how he described his role as a doctor:

“God is trying to blow out the candle, and I’m quickly trying to shield the flame, taking advantage of his brief inattention,” he said. “To keep the flame flickering, even if only for a little while longer than he would wish.”