Introduction to the Jewish Partisans | Facing History & Ourselves

Introduction to the Jewish Partisans

Former Jewish partisans discuss the goals, challenges, and personal motives of the Jews who resisted the Germans.

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  • History


English — US


Introduction to the Jewish Partisans

These are the images that come to mind when people think about the Jewish experience during the holocaust. But these are not the only images. There were 20,000 to 30,000 Jews who formed organized armed resistance groups all throughout Europe. These little known freedom fighters conducted thousands of acts of sabotage against their Nazi oppressors. They were known as Jewish partisans.

People did not go only like sheep to their death. People were fighting every which way they can.

I did my job the best I could. I was in many battles with the Germans face-to-face, sometimes maybe 100 foot away and bullets were flying all the sides. And luckily, I survived.

We say a German column that's marching to us, we ambushed them.

The partisans, they fought for freedom, for a better tomorrow, for a better future. And they fought in order not to be eliminated by the Germans. Against the Germans.

Jewish partisans were responsible for the liberation of thousands of Jews trapped in ghettos, saving them from annihilation.

I started to organize an escape. I had 55 people, said they were willing to escape. From the 55, 30 were killed. 25 made it into the woods. Without the forest, we couldn't survive.

The trees, the sky, the pine needle ground were our summer home, the ground hut was our winter home. We're dealing these friendly and unfriendly peasants. The friendly peasant supported us with food and with ammunition. The unfriendly peasants had no choice. They would get in at night, pick up the prepared food orders that were prepared for the Germans and leave receipts. The partisans were here.

The moon was our biggest enemy because if there was a moon night, because in the day we couldn't go, and in the night, if there was a moonlight night, we couldn't move. So that night, the blizzard, heavy snow, heavy rain, this was our friends.

Jewish partisans committed thousands of acts of sabotage, significantly impeding the Nazi war effort.

We were interested in getting involved in sabotage acts to interrupt and disrupt the communication and transportation to the front.

When we attacked the depot, we hit the guard and got ammunition and we blew up the train depot.

We could see the Germans there, and I could recognize the Germans that I wanted to kill, who killed my friend. And they started to shoot towards us, but when they shot, they shot all with revolvers. They were not prepared. They didn't have rifles. They didn't have machine guns. We overpowered them. Little by little, their shooting stopped.

We had to blow up a train. It was sitting in the background and waiting till the train approached. And some of the Germans must got killed.

It's the same to Jewish as its to Americas to start the Revolutionary War and its heroes. People put their chest in front of English muskets to build a country. We put our chest in front of German muskets to defend ourselves from annihilation and maybe prevent the deaths of other Jews.

If I was going to get killed, I was going to get killed as a fighter, not because I'm a Jew.

I survived for two legacies-- for revenge and for telling the story. Revenge for my father and telling the story from my mother. So if I had the chance and if I looked for resistance, this was the most important thing for me. And I didn't care if I would be killed, if I wouldn't be killed, I had to do it.

There is such a thing as fighting back. This is the way I think. That's why I'm sitting here to give you the interview. Why else would I do it? I want the people to know that we were fighting.

This is the hem of Jewish partisans.


Introduction to the Jewish Partisans

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