Joseph Bursztyn was born in a well-off family from the old Polish city of Lublin. Their social situation did not prevent any child of this family to choose the way of progress and to join the progressive left wing forces of their native city. After the secondary school studies, Joseph Bursztyn succeeded to pass the diploma.
He chose France for the medicine studies at the Reims Faculty, where the social preoccupations were intense, especially among the Jewish students who founded a progressive organization “Combat”, which Bursztyn became a leader. After three years in Reims, he came to Paris with Marie, his young wife, in order to resume his studies and attend his doctorate viva...
When the war burst out in 1939, he engaged like many foreigners in the French army in order to fight the Nazis and was sent in a military hospital... When the Nazi hordes invaded France, Joseph Bursztyn was among the first to join the partisans. He lived with his wife and little girl in very difficult conditions, underground and in a hidden home with all the consequences of that illegal situation.
With Mounie Nadler, he was in charge of organizing the work among the intellectuals to boost the fight of the resistance. He wrote also illegal newspapers “Notre Voie” and “Notre Parole” (‘Our way’ and ‘Our Word’)... An accidental explosion in an underground lab where Jewish partisans prepared explosives triggered massive arrests in the ranks of the Jewish resistance. It hit, among others, the ranks of the intellectuals, that’s how Bursztyn was kept early July 1942, together with Nadler. As stated in the N° 10 of Notre Voie, “ - Monie Nadler and Joseph Bursztyn were gunned August 11th 1942... His brave wife was also arrested and tortured by the Nazis before she died in deportation. It’s known that when they met in the den of the Gestapo, Joseph told his wife – Hold on, we will defeat them”. from : Combattants, Héros & Martyrs de la Résistance. by David Diamant, Editions Renouveau