May 28, 2024
Polish/Jewish Relations

A rabbi who fought for Poland’s independence.

Rabbi Baruch Steinberg speaking in front of the Great Synagogue during the appeal of the fallen, organized by the Union of Jewish fighters for the Polish independence.
Rabbi Baruch Steinberg speaking in front of the Great Synagogue during the appeal of the fallen, organized by the Union of Jewish fighters for the Polish independence.

 

Born in Poland, in 1897, to a Jewish family with rabbinical traditions, Baruch Steinberg also became a rabbi. In November 1918 he volunteered to join Polish forces in the Polish-Ukrainian war. He fought alongside the Polish forces in the battle of Lwow and remained on the front-lines until Polish forces took control of Przemysl in May 1919. In 1928, he was accepted into active service in the Polish army, with the rank of professional rabbi. A few years later, he would be promoted to senior rabbi, second class, and eventually became Chief Rabbi of the Polish Army.

In September 1939, after the Soviet invasion of Poland, he was taken prisoner by the Soviets. Detained in Soviet camps after September 17th, he organised services for his fellow inmates, also attended by non-Jewish Poles. His activity, like other chaplains’, was prohibited. He was one of 22,000 murdered in the Katyn massacre, carried out by the Soviets, in April-May, 1940.

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