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Helen and Sol Krawitz Holocaust Memorial Education Center

Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center

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Combat and Resistance

“It is impossible to put into words what we have been through. What happened exceeded our boldest dreams. The Germans fled twice from the ghetto… My life’s dream has come true. Defense in the ghetto has become a fact. Armed Jewish resistance and revenge are actually happening. I have witnessed the glorious and heroic combat of the Jewish fighters.”

Mordechai Anielewicz, Warsaw Ghetto, April 1943

Warsaw, Poland, 1943, General Stroop’s men next to burning buildings during the suppression of the uprising
Credit: Yad Vashem : The Holocaust “Combat and Resistance” www.yadvashem.org/holocaust/about/combat-resistance

Once reliable, substantiated evidence about the murder of the Jews began to emerge and after the deportations from the ghettos had taken place, the undergrounds began launching armed rebellions in the ghettos and camps. In addition, they organized escapes and smuggled Jews from the ghettos to the forests in order to fight in the partisan units, as well as other rescue and hiding efforts. The largest and longest lasting of these rebellions took place in the Warsaw ghetto. After liberation many of the survivors quickly enlisted in the Allied forces that continued to fight against Nazi Germany.

Approximately 1.5 million Jews fought in World War II in the Allied armies, in the partisan units, in the underground movements and in the ghettos. Hundreds of thousands of Jews fell in battle.