On September 1, 1943, the United Partisans Organization (FPO) issued a proclamation calling for armed resistance by Jews in Vilna:
Jews, Prepare for Armed Resistance!
The German and Lithuanian hangmen have reached the gates of the ghetto. They will murder us all. They will take us, group by group, through the gates.
That is how they took them in their hundreds on the Day of Atonement.
That is how they took them at the time of the White, the Yellow, and the Pink papers.*
That is how they took our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, our children.
That is how they took tens of thousands away to their death. But we will not go!
We will not let them take us like animals to slaughter.
Jews, prepare for armed resistance!
Do not believe the false assurances of the murderers, do not believe the words of the traitors. Whoever is taken through the gate of the ghetto has only one road ahead—Ponary. And Ponary is death.
Jews, we have nothing to lose.
Death is certain. Who can still believe that he will survive when the murderers kill systematically? The hand of the hangman will reach out to each of us. Neither hiding nor cowardice will save lives.
Only armed resistance can save our lives and honor.
Brothers, it is better to fall in battle in the ghetto than to be led like sheep to Ponary.
Know that in the ghetto there is an organized Jewish force which will rise up with arms in its hands.
Rise up for the armed resistance!
Don’t hide in the malines. You will fall there like mice in the hands of the murderers.
Out into the streets!
Those who have no arms get hold of an axe.
Those who haven’t an axe take hold of an iron bar or a cudgel!
— For our murdered children,
— For our parents,
— For Ponary.
Strike the murderers!
In every street, in every yard, in every room, within the ghetto and outside the ghetto.
Strike the dogs!
Jews, we have nothing to lose. We can save our lives only if we kill the murderers.
Long live liberty! Long live armed resistance!
Death to the murderers!
United Partisans Organization — F.P.O. (Fareinikte Partizaner Organizatsie)
September 1, 19431
* Documents of various types that were distributed in the ghetto
- 1 : From Yad Vashem, Documents on the Holocaust.