during the Holocaust
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
pamphlet explores examples of armed and unarmed resis-
tance by Jews and other Holocaust victims. Many courageous acts of resistance were carried out in Nazi ghettos and camps and by partisan members of national and political resistance movements across German-occupied Europe. Many individuals and groupsin ghettos and camps also engaged in acts of spiritual resistance such as the continuance of religious traditions and the preservation of cultural institutions. Although resistance activities in Nazi Germany were largely ineffective and lacked broad support, some political and religious opposition did emerge.
Front cover: Partisans from the Kovno ghetto in the Rudniki forest of Lithuania.1943–44. Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel Back cover: Jewish partisan musical troupe in the Naroch forest in Belorussia. 1943. Organisation des partisans combattants de la résistance et des insurgés des ghettos en Israel Inside front cover: Three Jewish partisans in the Parczew forest near Lublin. 1943–44. Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel
PRODUCTION OF THIS PAMPHLET IS FUNDED IN PART BY THE UNITED STATESHOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM’S MILES LERMAN CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF JEWISH RESISTANCE.
Introduction Obstacles to Resistance Resistance in the Ghettos Unarmed Resistance in Ghettos Armed Resistance: Ghetto Rebellions Resistance in Nazi Camps Unarmed Resistance in the Camps Armed Resistance: Killing Center Revolts Selected Partisan Activities in Europe Polish Partisans Soviet PartisansJewish Partisan Units in the Forests of Eastern Europe Partisan Activities of Jews in Western and Central Europe Spiritual Resistance in the Ghettos and Camps Resistance in Nazi Germany Nazi Destruction of Political Opposition and Resistance Anti-Nazi Activities of the Christian Opposition Defiant Activities of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Activities of the Herbert Baum Group The “White Rose” NotesChronology Selected Annotated Bibliography
during the Holocaust
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I N T R O D U C T I O N
uring World War II an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Jews fought bravely as partisans in resistance groups that operated under cover of the dense forests of eastern Europe. Among them was a Polish Jew named Izik Sutin. In summer 1942, before he had joined up withpartisans, Sutin was one of 800 Jews crammed into the Mirski Castle — in Polish, the mir zamek — on the outskirts of Mir, a small Polish town near the Russian border. The Germans had moved him and their other prisoners, mostly skilled laborers, to the castle after liquidating the Mir ghetto in town. Over the course of two days, Germans had marched most of the Jewish men, women, and children fromthe ghetto to the outskirts of town and forced them at gunpoint to dig their own mass grave. The mass killings went on for two days. Recalling what happened after he survived the massacre in which his mother, Sarah, was murdered, Sutin said: It was during that summer in the zamek that roughly forty of us younger persons — many of whom had gotten to know one another in the Hashomer Hatzair [thelabor-oriented Zionist youth organization] — began to attempt to organize some sort of resistance. We ranged in age from roughly sixteen to thirty. The majority were men, but there were some women as well. In any ordinary sense, our situation was completely hopeless. We had no weapons except for rocks, bottles, and a few knives. We were completely outnumbered and surrounded by a trained Germanmilitary force supported loyally by the local population. But then again, we had no expectation that we would live beyond the next few weeks or months. Why not resist when the alternative was death at a time and place chosen by the Nazis? Desperation was what drove us, along with the desire for revenge. Our families had been butchered and piled into nameless graves. The thought of taking at least a...
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