| Page 7 | Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation

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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.

Simon Trakinski

Biography

Simon Trakinski was born in Vilna, Lithuania, in 1925. Like many others, his family fled to the east when the war began in 1939, seeking refuge in the Russian village of Smorgon. When the Germans invaded Russia in 1941, Smorgon was occupied and all the village's Jews were forced into the ghetto.

Approximate area of partisan activity for

Simon heard about the activities of the partisans from escaped Soviet POWs. When his family left the Smorgon ghetto to return to Vilna, he and his friends carried guns with them. In Vilna, they joined up with the United Partisans Organization and took part in the failed uprising in the Vilna ghetto. When the ghetto was closed in 1943, Simon and his group escaped, but were forced to leave their families behind. They initially fought with the Jewish Markov Brigade that was engaged in a struggle against rival partisan groups over control of the territory around Vilna, among them the right wing branch of the Polish resistance, the Armia Krajowa (AK). But when Markov's camp was blockaded by the Germans, Simon was forced to escape and join another group. He worked as a spy and a saboteur in liaison with a partisan unit established by the regular Soviet army, gathering information about troop and supply movements, mining roads, and blowing up bridges. His group was especially active along the Berlin-Moscow supply route.

As the war continued, Simon left the partisans to work for the Soviet government as a schoolteacher in a remote Russian village. When the war ended and the "iron curtain" began to descend across Eastern Europe, Simon returned to Poland and smuggled himself into the West. He spent three years in Austria attempting to immigrate to the U.S., before finally being allowed to enter in 1948.

Simon died on January 2, 2009 surrounded by his loving family at his home in New York.

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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