Simcha Rotem, the last surviving fighter of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, died in Jerusalem on Saturday at the age of 94. Rotem, was only 15-years-old when World War II broke out and Nazi Germany invaded his home of Poland. As a teenager he was active in Zionist youth movements, where he became committed to armed resistance against the Nazis. In April 1943 the Nazis circled in on the Ghetto, leading to the outbreak of violent resistance. Rotem and his fellow insurgents preferred to die fighting instead of in a gas chamber, where the Nazis had already sent more than 300,000 Warsaw Jews. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is the greatest incidence of Jewish resistance to the Nazis and is a monumental symbol in Jewish and Israeli lore. At a 2013 ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the uprising, Rotem said he and his comrades launched the uprising to “choose the kind of death” they wanted.
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