Vitka Kempner was 19 years old when she made the choice to resist the Nazis. She had watched the Nazis gather Jews and force them into a monastery, and she heard their screams as they were beaten. She reflects that this was the moment when she decided to run away from home with friends and become a partisan. She fled to the city of Vilna and then moved into the Vilna Ghetto, where she joined other youth to become a founding member of the United Partisan Organization (FPO).
Students will review Vitka Kempner’s personal stories from when she ran away from home to become a partisan until the end of the war. They will investigate what role, if any, age might play in the decision to engage in resistance. Central to Vitka’s identity as a partisan was her understanding of the concept of dignity. For her, her dignity and her choice to resist were deeply connected. Students will also consider Vitka’s choice to commit acts of revenge at the end of the Holocaust. The activities in this lesson require the use of critical analysis, teamwork, methods of comparing and contrasting, and creative thinking.