Behind High Walls

The young man was a Jew. A hated one. But he was also a rebel, and like revolutionaries since the dawn of time, he would go down fighting.

"We are the oppressed. We are the forgotten. We are hated and shunned and pressed into ghettoes, to live like animals. We are starving! And what do the people around us do?" The young speaker paused and looked around at the crowd of hungry Jews around him. "They spit on us and hit us."

He was a sensation. This man was only seventeen years old. He would have been at university if it wasn't for the war -- now, as a Jew, he was living in the Warsaw ghetto along with hundreds of others. They were starving, their bones showing easily through their skin, and they were ready to revolt.

"I'm telling you to stand up! We have no arms to speak of -- that much is true. No weapons. But the soldiers, they have a life to live, and they do not want to die. We are going to die anyway! But I am telling you one thing: we will not go meekly to our grave as our friends and neighbours have. We are going to fight, and we are going to live."

Meetings were arranged, and the young man returned to the room he shared with his family and two others. It was crowded and noisy; he had not slept for days. But the speech had gone well, he knew that. Perhaps now the people would rise up in a revolution, and the walls of the ghetto would be broken down. Well, he could dream, could he not?

"You are going to get yourself killed one of these days," admonished his mother. "What do you think you're doing, standing up in public like that? If the soldiers catch you you'll be shot for sure..."

"Thanks for the vote of support, Mother," he replied, but there was  wry smile on his face. "But if we're going to die anyway -- shot or gassed, more likely -- what have we got to lose?"

And that was the crux of the matter. The Jews were starved and weak, they were outnumbered, and they had no weapons. But they had nothing to lose and they would fight to the death, because failure would be have the same outcome. This young rebel recognised that. But he was the first to do something about it.

The End

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