Article - Zivia & Yitzhak Zuckerman
ZIVIA (LUBETKIN) & YITZHAK (ANTEK) ZUCKERMAN
Zivia Lubetkin (Zuckerman) - Yitzhak Zuckerman's companion and comrade-in-arms - was born in a small town in Poland in 1914. She was a member of the Zionist-Socialist youth movement Freiheit and encouraged its members to build their lives in Eretz Israel.
Zivia was one of the initiators of the movement to unite Freiheit and Hechalutz and, after taking an agricultural course was transferred to the movement's head office in Warsaw and put in charge of these training courses. Following the partition of Poland, Zivia worked in the Soviet zone organizing groups of pioneers to make their way to the shores of Eretz Israel. In the course of this work, she was sent to the German-occupied zone and worked with the beleaguered Jews of the ghettos where her name soon became byword and, for the Jews outside occupied Europe she became the symbol of Jewish resistance to the Nazis.
When the Germans moved to destroy Warsaw Jewry, Zivia worked together with Zuckerman, Mordechai Anilewicz, and others to set up a combined anti-fascist front. She held important posts in the fighting command and in the Jewish communal organizations.
In the January revolt, she fought alongside Antek (Yitzhak Zuckerman) and in the April uprising she took part in all the battles and was a member of the high command that had its headquarters at 18 Mila Street.
In May 1943, together with the few remaining resistance fighters, she made her way out of the ghetto through the sewers and reached the other side of the city, joining the resistance headquarters there. In the August 1944 revolt she fought again alongside her husband Antek. When the war was over she devoted her efforts to rebuilding the pioneer movement and helping to organize the illegal immigration to Eretz Israel.
In 1946 Zivia arrived in Israel and appeared before the kibbutz movement in Yagur, giving a moving account of Jewish resistance in Poland. In the same year she also appeared before the delegates to the Zionist Congress in Basel and was given a standing ovation.
In Israel she became a member of Kibbutz Lohamei Ha-Getta'ot and divided her time between physical work on the kibbutz and her public work - in the kibbutz Ghetto Museum, as a member of the central institution of the kibbutz movement, as head of the Youth and Hechalutz department of the Jewish Agency, and in numerous other posts. She died in 1978 and was buried in the kibbutz cemetery.
Yitzhak Zuckerman ("Antek") - leader of the ghetto fighters - came to symbolize the Jews' fight for freedom. Born in Vilna in the year 1915, Antek was educated at the local Jewish schools and he planned to continue his education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. However he became deeply involved in the Jewish pioneer youth movements and became one of the leaders of Hechalutz which later merged with Freiheit to form Dror. He worked his way through the ranks of the movement and underwent training to equip him for life on a kibbutz in Eretz Israel. An active member of the Hechalutz leadership when World War II broke out he was one of those entrusted with the responsibility for dealing with the problems facing Polish Jewry in those areas of the country annexed by the Russians. Antek was one of the founders of Dror, the underground Zionist movement whose members were determined to remain faithful to its ideals in their strivings to reach Eretz Israel.
It did not take long before he was called upon to work in the areas occupied by the Nazis and in 1940 he arrived in Warsaw and took over the leadership of the Pioneer Youth in the Ghetto. From the moment that he realized that the Nazis planned to exterminate European Jewry, he devoted all his efforts to building up a Jewish fighting force and it was he who was responsible for planning the Jewish resistance to the Nazi conquerors in the Warsaw and other ghettos.
Following the expulsion of the Jews from Warsaw in 1942, Antek held a number of key posts in the Jewish Fighters' organization and became its deputy commander. He also held office in the various organizations comprising the Jewish resistance movement. During the January 1943 revolt of the Warsaw Ghetto he was responsible for the defense of the Zamenhof Street headquarters and in April, a few days before the outbreak of the April uprising he was sent on a mission to the Polish-held section of the city to make contact with the Polish resistance and obtain arms and ammunition for the Jewish fighters. The revolt broke out while he was still there and he was cut off from his comrades in the ghetto.
After Jewish resistance had been overcome, he contrived a rescue mission to the Ghetto ruins in an effort to save those of his fighters who were still alive and he spent the rest of the years until the liberation of Poland in organizing Jewish resistance in the ghettos and concentration camps. He was active in drawing the attention of the world to the sufferings of the Jews and he fought for their right to be allowed to take part in the fight against the Nazis. As commander of the Jewish fighters he organized Jewish co-operation with the groups of partisans fighting in the forests. In the course of the Polish revolt in August 1944 he commanded a group of Jewish fighters who played a shining role in the Poles' fight against their conquerors. When the war eventually came to an end Antek was among those Jewish leaders who devoted their efforts to reconstructing the Jewish Pioneer movement and he worked to smuggle as many as possible of its members to the shores of Eretz Israel.
In 1945 he appeared before the Zionist Conference in London and made a moving plea for the Jews of the world to come to the aid of the remnants of European Jewry who were knocking on the doors of Eretz Israel.
In 1947 Antek finally reached Eretz Israel and, together with his friends, the founders of Kibbutz Lohamei Ha-Getta'ot set up and directed its Museum, which is named after Yitzhak Katznelson and commemorates the Ghetto fighters and survivors of the Holocaust.
He died in 1981 and was laid to rest in the kibbutz cemetery.