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Partisans in the Brody Ghetto

Lawrence Bush
May 20, 2017

Liquidation of the ghetto of Brody, Poland (now Ukraine) was completed on this date in 1943. Some 3,000 Jews of a pre-war population of 9,000 (nearly 70 percent of the town’s total population) were deported to their deaths in Madjanek. In the preceding months, a resistance group of young people led by Samuel Weiler had made contact with the Polish People’s Army, “from which they obtained several guns,” according to the Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team. “The Jews wanted to organize resistance in the event of the liquidation of the ghetto, [but] some of the members of the group decided to escape to the forest prior to the liquidation. . . . In the Pianica forest a so-called ‘family camp’ had been established, where 80-200 Jews from Brody sought refuge.” During the ghetto’s liquidation, members of this Jewish underground shot dead several Ukrainian policemen. Weiler survived the war in a partisan unit. From the entire pre-war Jewish population in Brody, only 88 people lived to see liberation.

Brody “was one of the important Jewish communities in Galicia . . . on the one hand it was a renowned khasidic center, yet at the same time at the beginning of the 19th century Brody also became one of the first locations of the Haskala (Jewish Enlightenment) in the province. . . . From September 1939 until 1 July 1941 the town was under Soviet occupation. . . On 1 July 1941, the Germans occupied the town and lost no time in issuing anti-Jewish decrees. On 15 July 1941, a group of 250 intellectuals were summoned to the local Gestapo, where they were subjected to two days of torture and then murdered in ditches adjoining the Jewish cemetery.” --Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.