Marek Edelman, who died on October 2, probably aged 90, was the last surviving leader of the armed Jewish revolt against the Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto; having commanded the heroic but doomed struggle in April 1943 he was one of a tiny number of fighters to escape with his life, eventually taking part in the equally ill-fated citywide Uprising the following year.
Edelman was just 20 when the Nazis invaded Warsaw. By November 1940 the invading army had cut off his district from the rest of the city with walls and wire. As the anti-Semitic directives of the occupation were put into force, hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews were forced into the ghetto, inflating its population to almost half a million.
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Conditions became intolerable and in the course of 1941 the ghetto population was decimated by disease and malnutrition. Early the following year however, with Hitler's decision to implement the Endlösung, or final solution to "the Jewish question", plans were put in place to liquidate the ghetto and its remaining occupants entirely.
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