GalleryWarsaw Ghetto › ANTEK: Tragic Hero of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

“If you could lick my heart, it would poison you.”

—Yitzhak Zuckerman, aka “Antek”

Zuckerman was the last leader of the heroic, doomed, and poorly armed and provisioned Jewish resistance that fought the mighty German Army for 28 days. The resistance was defeated in mid-May, 1943. The surviving 50,000 Jews, in what was left of the ghetto, were immediately deported to extermination camps by the Nazis.

Keep in mind that it took the German war machine just six weeks to totally conquer France, Belgium, and Holland. All three of these of these great democratic European nations had large, well-equipped armies with professional officers, staffs, and large, healthy civilian populations.

Antek was one of the very few Jews to both survive the fighting and emigrate to pre-state Israel after WWII. He and his wife, Zivia Lubertkin, also a valiant ghetto fighter, were founding members of a distinguished kibbutz (socialist agricultural community) and a museum dedicated to the memory of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Zuckerman also testified for the prosecution during the trial of Adolf Eichmann in1961.

The trauma of his wartime experiences left him in psychological anguish later in life. His raging alcoholism was a soul wound that never healed.

In 2001, Yitzhak and Zivia’s granddaughter, Roni Zuckerman, became the first female jet fighter pilot for the Israeli Air Force.

For those who wish to learn more, here are several relevant web links: 

Artist Statement

About 25 years ago, I produced a series of mixed-media collages inspired by well-known historical photos of Antek. The collages were small mixed-media, made of black-and-white Xerox copies of photos from books combined with inks, acrylic paints, and transfer decals. They all had a deep yellow background.

Unfortunately, all of the art got lost in my various moves between Pennsylvania, Maine, and Florida. But, inexplicably, after nearly a quarter of a century, the face of Antek reappeared in my consciousness—and I had a compelling need to document what was in my mind’s eye.

Although we live in a world of anti-heroes, Yitzhak Zuckerman was a real hero. The passage of time has faded the memory of his heroic leadership in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

By historical standards, our lives in the West are easy and comfortable. It takes a leap of imagination to relate to those who were doomed by the Holocaust and still found the will to keep fighting the Nazis until their last breath.

Perhaps an artist can sometimes bridge the gap between then and now.

Technical Notes

These multi-media collages are printed on archival Hahnemühle Digital FineArt 100% cotton rag paper with Epson pigmented inks. Some are embellished with hand-painted papers adhered with acid-free permanent dry tack adhesive. All sheets are standard 8.5x11 inches. Photographic images were captured off the internet with an iPhone camera and adjusted in Photoshop.

Contact Bob Barancik

cell+text: 215.964.3937


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