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Faye Schulman, partisan fighter and photographer, with other Jewish Partisans who she knew from before the war. They were acting as messengers for another partisan brigade. Faye says she was, "happy that there are three Jewish boys fighting."

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Cover of the underground Yiddish newspaper, Jugend Shtimme (Voice of the Youth), which was distributed in the Warsaw Ghetto. The Yiddish caption reads "Fascism must be smashed!"

Partisans Like Me

Below are questions answered by many of the Jewish partisans JPEF interviewed. Check and uncheck any answer or combination of answers, then scroll down to see which partisans answered like you did. Click their photo to find out more about them.

Partisan Hideout

Many Jewish partisans in Eastern Europe lived in underground bunkers called zemlyankas (Russian for "dugout"): small, primitive shelters that provided a living and hiding space, sometimes for dozens of people, even through freezing winters.

Click and drag in the window below to explore a virtual model of Shalom Yoran's zemlyanka that he built and lived in with four other men in the winter of 1942.

Europe (Overview)

1937 borders. Approximate areas of Jewish partisan activity marked in yellow.

Approximately 30,000 Jews throughout Eastern and Western Europe -- many of them teens -- fought back during the Holocaust as Jewish partisans.

Frank Blaichman

Biography

Born in the small town of Kamionka, Poland on Dec. 11, 1922, Frank Blaichman was just sixteen years old when the German army invaded his country in 1939. Following the invasion, German officials issued regulations intended to isolate the Jews and deprive them of their livelihood.

Approximate area of partisan activity for

Frank took great risks to help his parents and family survive these hardships. With a bicycle, he rode from the neighboring farms to nearby cities, buying and selling goods at each destination. He refused to wear the Star of David armband and traveled without the required permits, but his courage and fluent Polish ensured his safety. When word spread that the Jews of Kamionka were to be resettled in a nearby ghetto, Frank hid in a bushy area outside of town. He stayed with a friendly Polish farmer and then joined other Jews hiding in a nearby forest. In the forest, the threat of being discovered was constant and Polish hoodlums beat any women that left the encampment. Frank encouraged the men to organize a defense unit. He obtained firearms by posing as a Polish policeman, using an overcoat he had found.

After a German attack on the partisans' encampment killed eighty Jews, the survivors left the forest to hide with sympathetic farmers. Always on the move, they killed German collaborators, destroyed telephone lines, damaged dairy factories and ambushed German patrols.

Frank's squad joined a larger all-Jewish unit, with strong ties to the Polish underground and Soviet army. They were responsible for protecting 200 Jews living in a forest encampment. Only 21, he was the youngest platoon commander in the unit and escorted the future prime minister of Poland to a secret meeting with Soviet high command.

"I'm very proud of what I did all those years," he says. "The reality was we had nothing to lose, and our way to survive was to fight."

Frank's memoir, Rather Die Fighting, was published in 2009 by Arcade Publishing. Frank Blaichman passed away on December 27, 2018 at the age of 96.

The RESIST! Curriculum

Engage and inspire your youth with these free, ready-to use materials for teaching History, Leadership, Ethics and Jewish Values through the life lessons of Jews who fought back during the Holocaust. Designed for 6th-12th grade History, English, Social Studies, Holocaust/Genocide and Jewish Studies classrooms and informal settings (youth groups, summer camps, etc.). Most materials can be completed in 45-60 minutes.

Films

Watch short documentary films narrated by Ed Asner, Tova Feldshuh, Larry King, and Liev Schreiber made from from a collection of 50 original interviews with surviving Jewish partisans shot all over the world.

Witness the Jewish partisans' stories of endurance, victory, and struggle against the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. Each 3-24 minute film tells a true tale of survival and courage from actual partisans. Films are also available on DVD: please email dvd@jewishpartisans.org for more information.

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