Marek Edelman

In 2010, the City Council of Łódź made the patron of the newly established Dialogue Center in Lodz doctor Marek Edelman, Knight of the Order of the White Eagle, Commander of the French Legion of Honor and Honorary Citizen of the City of Lodz.

He was born in 1919 in Homel. During the war, he was one of the founders of the Jewish Combat Organization in the Warsaw Ghetto. After Anielewicz’s death, he became the leader of the Ghetto uprising. 18 months ago, he fought on the barricades of the Warsaw Uprising. He always emphasized that the Jewish uprising was part of the Polish fight against the Nazi occupier.

After the war he lived in Lodz. He graduated from medical school and started practicing as a doctor. He never accepted communism and the communist authorities did not make his life easy. He was repeatedly banned from working and in December 1968, he was denied the postdoctoral degree at the medical university. In spite of all these problems, he never left Poland. He always stressed that no one will decide for him where and how he is to live his life. He also continued his political activity. He helped the persecuted and signed protests against injustice. He was a collaborator of the Workers Defense Committee, as well as one of the leaders of "Solidarity". He was interned on December 13, 1981 and released after a few days in prison, after the intervention of intellectuals from the West. In 1983, he boycotted the official ceremony on the anniversary of the ghetto uprising in protest against the delegalization of “Solidarity”. Until 1989, he participated in the underground “Solidarity” movement and took part in the Round Table talks.

When it was no longer necessary to fight for democracy in Poland, he began to speak out on other issues relevant to today's world. He repeatedly stressed that the duty of every man is to defend the weak and the vulnerable. He was concerned about Bosnia, then Kosovo. He helped both in action - even going with a convoy to Sarajevo – and in words. His appeal to the leaders of the NATO in April 1999 was published by the most important newspapers.

Marek Edelman always insisted that we all share responsibility for the fate of the world, and therefore we must constantly engage in difficult and dangerous issues. You have to side with those who are vulnerable and excluded. We must oppose evil in every form.

Prof. Jan Karski, the courier of the Polish underground state, also an honorary citizen of Łódź, said of him once: “Marek Edelman is the noblest of the noble. He is noble and wise. And it is a rare combination.”

Almost until his death, Edelman worked as a cardiologist in Łódź, he was the head of the Intensive Care Unit at the Pirogow hospital. He published the book "Ghetto Fights" as well as a scientific publication "The Heart Attack". Shortly before his death, a beautiful book of his was published “And there was love in the ghetto ...”, which was co-written by Paula Sawicka.

The story of Marek Edelman was described in the long interview "Shielding the flame" by Hanna Krall. In 1999, Rudi Assuntino and Wlodek Goldkorn released his biography titled "The Guardian. Marek Edelman speaks". In 2008, Witold Bereś and Krzysztof Burnetko published the book: “Marek Edelman. Life. Simply”.

"You are asking me, what is most important thing in life? The most important is the life itself. And once you have life, the most important thing is freedom ", he said in an interview. He believed that the youth of today need to be told that life is more important than anything else, that love saves and helps to survive the worst times.

Marek Edelman was an honorary doctor of many universities, including the Yale University, Universite Libre in Brussels and the Medical University of Łódź.

“I do not know what heroism is. Everyone does what they can,” said Marek Edelman. He proved with his life how much a single man can do. He died on 2 October 2009. In the Survivors' Park in Łódź , under number 219, an oak dedicated to Edelman has been planted, symbolizing his life, with a plaque bearing his name. Also in the Park, the future building of the Marek Edelman Dialogue Center will be opened in 2012.




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