New book by Yoram Lubling details heroism of Holocaust victims

A new book by Elon University philosophy professor Yoram Lubling uncovers the heroic life and death of his grandfather Moshe Y. Lubling - the true leader of the famous Jewish prisoners’ revolt in the notorious Nazi death camp Treblinka in Poland, during World War II. Details...

   Previously, knowledge about his grandfather’s involvement had escaped the attention of Holocaust scholars and institutions.
    The newly uncovered information by professor Lubling also corrects the belief by some historians that the revolt was a spontaneous act of self-preservation. His research shows that the revolt was a carefully designed act of Nekama (revenge) led by a small group of courageous prisoners who began their conspiracy from the day the camp started its operations. 
    The book, titled “Twice-Dead: Moshe Y. Lubling, the Ethics of Memory, and the Treblinka Revolt,” recounts the experiences of Moshe Y. Lubling and his family, who were deported from the Czestochowa ghetto to the death camp Treblinka. Moshe Y. Lubling’s wife and 12-year-old daughter were immediately gassed and burned, and he was kept alive as a “Goldjuden” (Gold Jews), a small group of prisoners whose task was to receive and sort the money, gold, valuables, foreign currency, and bonds taken from the deported Jews.
    Moshe Y. Lubling became a leading member of the revolt’s “Organizing Committee,” and on Aug. 2, 1943, he led the doomed prisoners in an armed revolt against their Nazi and Ukrainian tormentors. The prisoners burned the camp to the ground and facilitated the escape of 200-300 prisoners, although only 40 ultimately survived the war.
    Based on 15 years of research in archives and sites in Poland, Israel, and the United States, including several visits to Treblinka with Elon students and his family, professor Lubling provides new insights into the heroic nature of his grandfather and the revolt leaders. The book shows that the leaders, including professor Lubling’s grandfather, never intended to save themselves and were determine to revenge the lives of their people, to die with honor, and to save as many young lives as possible. Based on documents, eyewitness accounts, and letters received by the Jewish Resistance Organization in Czestochowa from Moshe Y. Lubling while in Treblinka, professor Lubling narrates the story of the long-planned revolt in which his grandfather guided to freedom a group of young prisoners through the east gate of the camp. Moshe Y. Lubling then returned to the camp in order to continue the fight against the Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators. He was never seen again.
    Underscoring Lubling’s book are deep ethical and philosophical issues concerning the craft of the historian and its often disregard to the multiple layers of information provided by survivors’ testimonial  accounts of the revolt, as well as the role played by Holocaust institutions in determining who and how victims of the Holocaust ought to be remembered.
    “My hope is twofold,” writes Lubling, “first, that my observations will promote a re-evaluation of the ‘official’ account of the revolt in Treblinka as it is presented in Holocaust Museums and their endorsed accounts of history. Second, that a re-examination of the relationship between the institutional system of Holocaust documentation and the victims they claim to represent, will take place.”
    The book contains a moving and personal Foreword by the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, author of “Night,” expressing his conviction that professor Lubling has uncovered in his book the truth about his grandfather’s heroic leadership in Treblinka, and the events surrounding the prisoners’ revolt.  
    Although rarely commenting on a work in which his name appears, Wiesel’s motivation in writing the Foreword was his “wish to correct an injustice committed by historians regarding his (Lubling’s) grandfather.”
    Wiesel writes: “It is incumbent upon me to declare the following: having read attentively the argument of this fighter for the historical truth, I believe that yes, the grandfather of the young philosopher Yoram Lubling fought, weapons in hand, together with his companions in misfortune, against the SS and their Ukrainian collaborators in Treblinka. Yes, he died in combat. Yes, he deserves a special place in Jewish memory.” 
    Lubling credits Wiesel for introducing him to the term “twice-dead,” which describes the double death of Holocaust victims. First, when they were killed by the Nazis, and again, when the world has forgotten their names. Lubling hopes that his book will provide a more accurate account of the Treblinka Revolt and its heroic organizers, as well as impose an ethical obligation upon Holocaust institutions and the State of Israel to remember their names.
    The Jewish survivors of the Czestochowa community in Poland, in which Moshe Y. Lubling was a leading member, have created a historic exhibit, “The Jews of Czestochowa,” which has toured the United States and Europe since 2005. Lubling and Elon officials are discussing the possibility of bringing the exhibit to campus to coincide with the book’s signing event.
    Professor Lubling is a native of the State of Israel and a former art critic for Davar, Israel’s Labor newspaper. He is the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles on classical American philosophy, as well as Holocaust studies, Jewish philosophy, and the history of Modern Zionism.
    The book is published by Peter Lang Publishing Group, an international firm with offices in Frankfort, Bern, Berlin, Brussels, New York, Oxford and Vienna.  
    “Twice-Dead: Moshe Y. Lubling, the Ethics of Memory, and the Treblinka Revolt,” will be available fall term in the Campus Shop at Elon University, and is currently available online through the publisher, or on,, and other on-line book sources. 

– By Mollie Lambert

Click on the link below to read the story in the Greensboro News & Record