Zahariasz Artsztajn (27.03.1923–1943)

hero of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, commander of one of the battle groups

Zachariasz Artsztajn was born on March 27, 1923 in Pruszków in a house at ul. Kościuszki 9. He was the seventh child of worker Icek Wulf Artsztejn and Zysla Rozencwajg. His family was connected with the Zionist movement – five of his siblings left for Palestine before the start of World War II, and he also waited to leave Poland. After graduating from school, he attended a Jewish teacher training college in Warsaw. He was also involved in the activities of the Frajhajt organization (Jidisze Socjalistisze Arbeter Jungt “Frajhajt” – Jewish Socialist Workers Youth “Freedom”).

He was most likely sent to the Warsaw ghetto in January 1941, when the German authorities of Pruszków decided to liquidate the Pruszków ghetto and deport the Jewish community to the capital. In 1943, he took part in the first military action, the so-called January Action against the Germans entering the ghetto. Zachariasz Artsztajn and Henoch Gutman were the first to attack the Germans at that time. In February 1943, Artsztajn took part in the assassination of the Gestapo agent Alfred Nossig. He was the commander of a group called “Aial”.

On April 19, Artsztajn commanded 30 armed boys. The unit took up a position at the corner of Nalewki and Gęsia streets and was the first to welcome the Germans entering the ghetto with fire. Zachariasz did not leave the ghetto. His colleagues did not find his group in the ruins. It is known that Zachariasz Artsztajn stayed with Icchak Blausztajn, Josek Farber and others. They defended themselves in bunkers at Nalewki 34, 37, 38. He was cut off from the groups that left the ghetto on May 8. He unsuccessfully tried to break into the ‘Aryan’ side. The circumstances of his death are unknown.

translated by Adam Grossman