Lejb Rotblat (14.10.1918–08.05.1943)

Zionist activist, associated with the Ha-Noar Ha-Cijoni and Akiba organizations; activist in the Jewish resistance movement in the Warsaw Ghetto, member of the Jewish Combat Organization, hero of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising


He was born into an assimilated Jewish family in Warsaw. In 1937 he graduated from a Polish high school and became an educator in the Zionist youth organization Ha-Noar Ha-Cijoni. After the outbreak of World War II he joined the Zionist Akiba movement. In the Warsaw Ghetto he worked in social welfare and ran a refugee center at Zamenhofa 32 St. and another center for abandoned children. During the so-called Great Action, Rotblat, together with her mother, hid a group of Jewish children in the block of one of the sheds.

Rotblat lost his father at an early age; throughout his life he was close with his mother, Maria (Miriam) Rotblat, the director of the orphanage at Mylna 18 St. They lived at ul. Muranowska 44. Their apartment was a hidden shelter for ŻOB (Jewish Combat Organisation) fighters. In March 1943, the ŻOB liaison officer, Arie Wilner, and Izrael Kanał hid there. Between January and April 1943, Rotblat organized and produced weapons for the uprising. On February 22, 1943, he participated in the execution of the collaborator Alfred Nossig.

The day before the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, on April 18, 1943, he was appointed commander of a combat group consisting of Akiba members fighting in the so-called Central Ghetto. On May 8, 1943, he and his mother were placed in the bunker at Mila 18 St. After the bunker was discovered by the Germans, Rotblat, at his mother’s request, shot her and committed suicide himself. On April 18, 1945 he was posthumously honored with the Cross of Valour.