AHEC staff is currently working from our new location on Highland Avenue, with teacher and community programs being hosted on-site. Stay tuned for announcements for our opening to the general public once our new state-of-the-art exhibit is completed.
2023 Daffodil Campaign
Wednesday, April 19
The Daffodil Campaign, also known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Campaign, is a public history project that seeks to educate the community on the history of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The Daffodil Campaign was initiated by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in 2013 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Over 500 volunteers handed out 50,000 paper daffodils pins and about 80,000 brochures with historical information. TV news presenters at every major TV channel were wearing daffodils on that day, extending the reach of the campaign to millions of viewers. The campaign is recreated yearly by handing out thousands of yellow daffodil pins on the streets of Warsaw and many other cities worldwide. This year, Birmingham, AL is participating for the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Learn how you can be involved, and join us in honoring those who perished in the Warsaw Ghetto.
How can I get involved?
There are two aspects of this public history project: creating the daffodils and handing out the daffodils.
- If you are part of a group that would like to make daffodils during the month of March, please fill out this interest form.
- If you are a member of the community who would like to hand out daffodils on April 19th, please fill out this interest form.
- If you are an educator who would like to bring the Daffodil Campaign to your school or classroom, please visit our educator page.
What is the Warsaw Ghetto?
- During the Holocaust, the Nazis isolated Jews by forcing them into enclosed districts known as ghettos. The process of ghettoization was a key step in brutally separating, persecuting, and ultimately murdering Europe’s Jews. The Warsaw ghetto was established in 1940, and as the largest ghetto, confined approximately 400,000 Jews. The living conditions were appalling, and thousands of Jews in the ghetto died as a result of disease, overcrowding, and starvation.
What was the Warsaw Ghetto uprising?
- In September 1942, the Nazis conducted a mass deportation that forced over 260,000 Jews living in the Warsaw ghetto to the death camp, Treblinka. In response to the mass deportation, an armed Jewish resistance movement organized. Mostly young men and women, the Jewish fighters numbered around 700. They obtained a few pistols and explosives and began constructing shelters to hide residents and prepare for an uprising. On April 19, 1943, the Jewish fighters launched their final act of armed resistance against the Nazis. Lasting twenty-seven days, this act of resistance came to be known as the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The resistance fought 2,000 Nazi soldiers and police, reinforced with artillery and tanks, until the Germans eventually razed the ghetto to the ground. On May 16, the Nazi official fighting the uprising announced in his daily report that “The former Jewish Quarter in Warsaw is no more.”
Were there other armed resistance movements in the Holocaust?
- Yes. Although Jews were isolated, stripped of their possessions, and physically debilitated, acts of armed resistance occurred in roughly 100 ghettos, as well as in concentration and extermination camps. You can learn more about armed resistance here.
Why are daffodils used to commemorate the Warsaw Ghetto uprising?
- Daffodils are associated with Marek Edelman, the last commander of the Jewish Combat Organization. Every year on the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising he placed daffodils at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw, Poland and at other sites associated with the extermination of Jews. Other symbolic meanings of the daffodils: The shape and color of the daffodils represent the yellow stars that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. Yellow is the color of remembrance. Daffodils represent our poignant hope for the future. They are resilient and return with a burst of color each spring, signifying hope, renewal and beauty. The daffodils also honor those who survived the Holocaust and went on to build new lives after this dark and difficult period.
How many daffodils will be handed out on April 19th?
- Our goal is to handout 7,000 daffodils. At least 7,000 Jews died fighting or in hiding in the ghetto during the uprising. Approximately 7,000 Jews were captured by the SS and police at the end of the fighting and sent to the death camp, Treblinka.