Last surviving leader of Warsaw Ghetto uprising laid to rest
Poland's President, Jewish leaders and hundreds of Poles bid farewell to Marek Edelman at Warsaw cemetery.
Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, Jewish leaders and hundreds of Poles on Friday bid farewell to Marek Edelman, who was the last surviving leader of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Nazis.
Edelman, who enjoyed great moral authority in Poland, died in Warsaw on Friday at the age of 90. He was buried with military honors and to the sound of Poland's national anthem, close to other uprising leaders, at the capital's main Jewish cemetery.
The Jewish uprising in the Warsaw ghetto was the first act of large-scale armed civilian resistance against the Nazi occupiers in Poland during World War II.
Edelman also fought in the 1944 Warsaw uprising and was a strident member of the anti-communist opposition for decades during the Cold War. He worked as a cardiologist in the central city of Lodz.
Edelman's wooden casket was draped with a World War II-era red flag of France's Jewish left-wing organization, Bund.
Funeral ceremonies opened at the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes monument with speeches from friends, including Poland's first democratically elected prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki.
"We are bidding farewell to a man of great merit, a man who was a great support to us and a guardian of principles and of memory," Mazowiecki said. "I know no other man of such modesty, who would do so much and allow so little to be said about himself."
Former dissident and newspaper editor Adam Michnik said Edelman was always "respected, admired and loved."
"He had the courage of a Polish mounted soldier and the sarcasm and melancholy of a Jew," Michnik said.
Among the mourners was former president and Solidarity freedom movement founder Lech Walesa, seen wiping away tears.
Edelman is survived by his son, Aleksander, his daughter, Anna, and grandchildren Liza and Tomek.