Wdowinski, David

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WDOWINSKI, DAVID (1895–1970), participant in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and founder of the Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowy (zzw; Jewish Military Union). Born in Bedzin, Wdowinski studied psychiatry at the universities of Vienna, Brno, and Warsaw. He became very involved in the Zionist Revisionist movement. Whereas many Jewish leaders fled in the wake of the German invasion of Poland, Wdowinski remained in Warsaw and was very active in underground activities in the ghetto. In particular he was the Revisionist representative in the Zydowski Towarzystwo Opieki Spolecznej (Jewish Mutual Aid Society), which engaged in welfare work. Around the time the great deportation was drawing to a close, and nearly 265,000 Jews had been deported to Treblinka, the zzw was formed by Wdowinski, Dr. Michael Strykowski, and Leon (Arie) Rodal. Pawl Frankiel, of Betar, was made the military commander of the organization and Wdowinski apparently set its political tone. The zzw never integrated into the main underground fighting organization in Warsaw, the Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa (The Jewish Fighting Organization), but the two groups did coordinate their activities to a certain extent during the spring of 1943. The zzw did not participate in the first armed clash in the ghetto, in January 1943. During the April uprising its fighters fought fiercely near Muranowska Square, in one of the major battles of the rebellion. Other zzw men fought in the Brushmakers' area of the ghetto, and still others in the area where supplies were kept. Wdowinski was captured by the Germans during the uprising and was sent to various concentration camps but survived. He settled in the United States after the war and in 1961 was a witness at the Eichmann Trial. He published his memoirs, And We Are Not Saved (1963).


I. Gutman, The Jews of Warsaw, 19391943: Ghetto, Underground, Revolt (1982).

[Robert Rozette]