Treblinka escapee and Warsaw Uprising veteran dies
PR dla Zagranicy
Samuel Willenberg, who escaped from the Nazi German death camp of Treblinka in 1943 and later fought in the Warsaw Uprising, has died in Israel aged 93.
Samuel Willenberg. Photos: archival report, Polskie Radio
Willenberg, who had been the last living survivor of the Treblinka Revolt, was shot in the leg while fleeing the death camp.
Of the 300 or so inmates that escaped, only about 100 survived the ensuing manhunt.
During the doomed 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi German occupiers, Willenberg fought both for the Home Army (AK), the official force loyal to Poland's government-in-exile, as well as the communist People's Army (AL).
After the war, he joined the Polish Army, but he emigrated to Israel in 1950, at the height of the Stalinist era.
Willenberg obtained a job as as the chief measurer for Israel's Housing Ministry. After his retirement he won recognition as a sculptor, echoing his father's talents. Prior to the war, Willenberg Senior had been in demand as a decorator of synagogues.
Samuel Willenberg made several visits to Poland in his later years. He was awarded the Virtuti Militari – Poland's highest military honour – in 2008.
His roots were in Częstochowa, southern Poland, where his father taught at a Jewish high school. His mother was an Orthodox Christian who converted to Judaism.
Willenberg is survived by his daughter and three grandchildren. (nh)