100th anniversary of „Antek” Cukierman’s birth

13th December 2015 marked 100th anniversary of birth of Icchak „Antek” Cukierman, a zionist activist, one of the leaders of the underground in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Wide wide icchak cukierman

13th December 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Icchak Cukierman’s birth, a zionist activist, one of the leaders of the underground in the Warsaw Ghetto, Cywia Lubetkin’s husband, known by his nom de guerre „Antek”.

Cukierman was born in 1915 in Vilnius. Before the II WW he was a member of He-Chaluc organisation. In 1938 became a Secretary General of Dror-he-Chaluc, and thus moved to Warsaw. After the II WW broke out Cukierman participated in organising underground activity of He-Chaluc and Dror under the Soviet occupation. In mid April 1940 he made it to the part of the country under the German occupation. Was one of the leaders of the Underground in the Warsaw Ghetto and outside of it. Active as a publicist and editor of the Underground press, co-organized clandestine Dror junior high and high school. 

Izchak Cukierman was one of the co-founders of the Jewish Combat Organization, member of its High Command and later its deputy commander. On 22nd December 1942 took part and was wounded during the raid on „Cyganeria” cafe in Cracow. As a leader of one of the combat teams „Antek” participated in the „January self-defence” action in the Warsaw Ghetto. During the preparations to the Ghetto Uprising he was a commander of JCO in one of its designated areas.

After detaining of Arie Wilner he became a liaison officer of the JCO on the „Aryan” side whose responsibility was to maintain contacts with the Home Army and Polish Worker’s Party (PPR). During the Uprising Cukierman was a JCO’s commander outside the Ghetto and organised help for the combatants, including the team which rescued the surviving fighters and brought them to safety and out of the Ghetto through the sewers system. After the death of Mordechaj Anielewicz became the chief-commander of the Jewish Combat Organisation. 

„Antek” was putting together reports of the Jewish Underground which were later sent abroad. Co-founded and was a member of the Jewish National Committee. Fought in the Warsaw Uprising during which he was the commander of the Jewish unit fighting at the side of the People’s Army (AL). 

After the war, together with his wife — Cywia Lubetkin, we became a member of the Central Committee of Polish Jews. Participated in organising bricha. In 1946 left for Palestine himself. Three years later they founded kibbutz Lochamei ha-Getaot (hear. the Ghetto Fighter’s Kibbutz).

In 1961 Cukierman testified as a witness during Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem. 

Died in the kibbutz he founded on 17th June 1981.

His memoir titled A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; translated and edited by Barbara Harshav was published in 1993  by University of California Press, Berkeley.

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