Mordechai Tenenbaum

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Mordechai Tenenbaum
MordechaiTenenbaum.jpg
Born1916
Warsaw, Poland
Died20 August 1943(1943-08-20) (aged 26–27)
Byalistok Ghetto
AllegianceFlag of ZOB (Jewish Fighting Organization).svg ŻOB
Battles/warsWorld War II

Mordechaj Tenenbaum (Hebrew: מרדכי טענענבוים; 1916–1943) was a member of the Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (Jewish Fighting Organization) and leader of the Białystok Ghetto Uprising.

Early life[edit]

Mordechaj Tenenbaum was born in Warsaw, one of 7 children to an Orthodox-Jewish family. From an early age, Tenenbaum abandoned the religious lifestyle, along with one of his brothers, and became interested in secular culture. After graduating from the Hebrew high school "Tarbut" in Warsaw he studied Turkish and Semitic languages at the University of Warsaw. Active in Zionist youth circles since his childhood, Tenenbaum joined the Poale Zion youth movement in 1935. After the outbreak of World War II and the German occupation of Poland, he left Warsaw with his girlfriend Tema Schneiderman and others to areas occupied by the Soviet Union. Their plan was to immigrate to Palestine, bu this was delayed by lack of sufficient documents. Finally, Tenenbaum obtained forged documents that his friends to emigrate, although he remained in Vilna to engage in activities among Jewish youth.[1] There he organized the resistance against the Germans in Wilno and Warsaw.

Vilna and the Warsaw Ghetto[edit]

In Vilna under Soviet occupation (1940–1941), he continued to work to save Jewish youth by providing them with certificates. Tenenbaum himself had a forged identity card in the name of a "Tatar" from the Vilnius region named Tamaroff, a family name that also mentioned the name of his beloved, Tema Schneiderman. This borrowed identity allowed him more free movement, including territories under German control. Even after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, including Lithuania, Tenenbaum made many forged papers for friends that saved their lives. In 1942 he arrived in Warsaw, where he was one of the founders of the YKA, and among the organizers and planners of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Byalistok Ghetto Uprising[edit]

In November 1942 Tenenbaum went on a mission to Białystok to serve as the head of the Haganah movement. There he organized the Jewish underground fighters and headed the resistance movement, which included members of Hashomer Hatzair and Dror. It was then decided that with the start of an "Aktion," the resistance would fight in the streets of Białystok and then try to escape to the forests and continue operating as partisans. The Ghetto underwent a number of major Aktions during 1943, and members of the underground who remained there felt that they were the last fighters after the liquidation of the ghettos in Warsaw in Będzin and Częstochowa. On August 16, 1943, the Germans began to encircle the ghetto. In the uprising, Tenenbaum and his comrades fought for four days against the German forces. At the end of the fighting Tenenbaum and his friend Moszkowicz committed suicide, in order to not fall into the hands of the Nazis.

Legacy[edit]

After the war to honor Tenenbaum a square in Białystok was named after him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]