Marek Edelman (born on 1 January 1919, died on 2 October 2009) – a cardiologist, a member of the Jewish Combat Organization and the Bund, a participant in two Warsaw Uprisings, and a recipient of the Order of the White Eagle.
It is generally accepted that he was born on 1 January 1919 in Homel. His parents, Natan Feliks and Cecylia (née Percowska), were from the Socialist milieu, and were closely associated with the Bund party. Following the death of Natan Feliks towards the end of the 1920s, the family moved to Warsaw, where Cecylia became Secretary of the Bund’s women’s organization – the JAF (Jidisze Arbeter Froj, Yiddish for Jewish Working Woman). Her son joined the Socjalistiszer Kinder Farband, a children’s organization affiliated with the Bund. Having lost his mother in 1934, the young Edelman came under the wing of her party comrades, who influenced his future outlook on life and system of values.
In 1939, he passed his school-leaving exams and joined the Cukunft Youth Union, and thereafter the Bund. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, he and his friends headed east, but he returned to the capital even before they had reached Brześć. He was involved in the resistance, and edited the Cukunft’s underground press. Marek Edelman took up work as an office boy at the Bersohns and Baumans’ Hospital. Having a pass which allowed him to leave the ghetto – for the purpose of conveying blood samples and sickness records from the local station to the Office of Hygiene at Nowogrodzka Street – he carried messages to members of the Bund who were hiding on the so-called Aryan side. He himself declined to go into hiding.
In 1942, he joined the Jewish Combat Organization. During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, he commanded five of the Organization’s combat groups which fought in the area of the brushmakers’ workshop, located in the tenement houses lying between Świętojerska, Wałowa, Franciszkańska and Bonifraterska streets. On 9 May, Edelman and a group of insurgents entered the sewers through a manhole in Prosta Street and crossed over to the Aryan side, from where they were taken by a truck to the forest near Łomianki. He later fought in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 as a soldier of the Jewish Combat Organization’s platoon (subordinate to the People’s Army) in the Old Town and Żoliborz.
After the war, he lived in Łódź and took up medical studies. In 1945, the Central Committee of the Bund published his account entitled “Getto walczy”.