Escaping from the Vilna Ghetto: An Authentic Memoir

by Shmerke Kaczerginski translated from the Yiddish, with notes, by Rachel Field   SHMERKE KACZERGINSKI  was a Yiddish poet, ethnomusicologist, activist, and cultural leader, who survived the Holocaust in a partisan unit. Born in Vilna in 1908, Kaczerginski was educated in the city’s Talmud Torah, a community-sponsored school for orphans, and became active in the banned […]

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Resistance in Skalat, Ukraine

Following the Nazi murder of some 750 Jews from the town of Skalat in the Tarnapol district of Ukraine on this date in 1943, a resistance group was organized under the leadership of a young man named Michael Glanz. The group collected weapons but was still unprepared for the next Nazi Aktion, on May 9, […]

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June 1: Zvi Dunski and the Resistance in Sosnowiec

As the Nazi liquidation of the Sosnowiec Ghetto in Poland began on this date in 1943, it was met with an earnest but poorly armed resistance that had been organized by Zvi Dunski, a young Hashomer Hatzair (Socialist Zionist) activist. According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Dunski, born in 1922, “played a central role […]

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January 4: Resistance in the Częstochowa Ghetto

Yitzhak Feiner and Mendel Fiszlewicz, two young members of the Jewish Fighting Organization, formed only weeks earlier in the Częstochowa Ghetto in Poland, used pistols to resist a Nazi round-up on this date in 1943. “Suddenly we heard one or two shots, the screams of Germans,” reports Dorka Sternberg-Bram, an eyewitness who later helped to […]

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The Sheep Were Legend, the Wolves Were Real

A Fighter in the Minsk Ghetto Recounts the Resistance by Hirsh Smoliar Translated from the Yiddish by Hershl Hartman From the Autumn 2015 special issue of Jewish Currents on the theme, “Honoring the Jewish Resistance.” Originally published in 1959. I CAN REMEMBER it clearly: It was that wonderfully good person and great writer, Der Nister […]

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The Little Doctor: A Resistance Hero in Poland

by Leonard Tushnet From the Autumn 2015 special issue of Jewish Currents on the theme, “Honoring the Jewish Resistance.” Originally published in 1961. JEWISH DOCTORS, distinguished in every branch of medicine, have not had a reputation as military leaders or organizers. Yet almost all the doctors in the Polish resistance movement were Jewish — and […]

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Remembering the Jews Who Fought Back

by Lawrence Bush The introductory essay from the Autumn 2015 special issue of Jewish Currents on the theme, “Honoring the Jewish Resistance.” IT SEEMS INCOMPREHENSIBLE, however often you contemplate it, and no matter how jaundiced your view of the human mob: That an advanced country could be so consumed by racism as to target every […]

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November 2: Revolt in the Marcinkonys Ghetto

A squad of fifteen German soldiers was assigned to liquidate the Marcinkonys Ghetto in Lithuania on this date in 1942. They ordered the nearly 400 inhabitants to appear for “labor duty” at 8 a.m. at the entrance to the 3.7-acre ghetto. An official complaint later written by forester Hans Lehmann, a Nazi party member, stated […]

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October 30: Escaping to the Partisans

Dr. Zelik Levinbok escaped with his wife and 8-year-old son from the Koldichevo concentration camp in Belorussia on this date in 1943. The camp was used for imprisoning Polish and Belorussian members of anti-Nazi resistance, and Jews from several towns and precincts. Between 1942 and ’44, 22,000 people, mostly Jews, were murdered there. Levinbok had been […]

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Marek Edelman, the Heroic Anti-Hero

“I am the Guardian of the Jewish Graves” by Itzhak Luden Translated from the Yiddish by Barnett Zumoff; published in the Yiddish Forverts, 10/5/2009 In principle, the most important thing is — life. And when there is life, the most important thing is freedom. And after that, one gives his life for freedom. Then one […]

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