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Digging Deeper Into Holocaust History

On a trip to Warsaw, Poland, in 2019, Richard Freund confronted the history of resistance against the Nazis at a Holiday Inn. Freund, an archaeologist, and professor of Jewish Studies at Christopher Newport University in Virginia, was led by the hotel manager into the basement. “Lo and behold,” Freund says, a section of the Warsaw Ghetto wall was visible. Freund was in Warsaw accompanied by scientists from Geoscientists without Borders, a nonprofit group whose mission includes investigating archaeological sites and working to mitigate natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.

The geoscientists were helping Freund pinpoint the location and contents of underground bunkers, where hundreds of Nazi resisters, led by 24-year-old Mordechai Anielewicz and his girlfriend Mira Fuchrer, plotted to combat the deportation of Jews to death camps. The rebellion erupted in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, the largest Jewish revolt in World War II. The resistance lasted nearly a month. During the battles, Nazis funneled poison gas into the underground bunkers, killing many of the rebels and driving others to escape through sewer tunnels. The Nazis crushed the uprising and razed the Warsaw ghetto. Tens of thousands of Jews either died in the battles, were executed, or were deported to death camps.

The history of the uprising was written in part by those who escaped. “They tell us

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