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Reflections on Resistance and Gender

  • Nechama Tec
Chapter

Abstract

The third Reich, as a coercive, oppressive political system, created a fertile ground for the emergence of underground movements. All resistance in Europe was a reaction to the German systematic subjugation and murder of the conquered populations. Recently there has been an upsurge in the attention given to non-Jewish and Jewish resistance. This interest, however, is unmatched by systematically accumulated knowledge about anti-German opposition. Instead, inquiries about resistance in general, and Jewish resistance in particular, contain many more questions than answers. This scarcity of historical evidence might have in part originated in certain inherent characteristics of underground movements.

Keywords

Personal Interview Jewish Woman Resistance Group German Woman Guerrilla Warfare 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Roger S. Gottlieb, ‘The Concept of Resistance: Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust’, Social Theory and Social Practice, vol.9, no. 1 (Spring, 1983), pp.31–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  29. Discussions about many of these couriers appear in a variety of sources. In several books and during my interviews with resisters the courier Marylka Rozycka was continuously praised for her great contributions to the underground. Consistently glowing comments about her and other couriers come from: Eva Kracowski, personal interview, Tel Aviv, 1995; Chaika Grossman, The Underground Army: Fighters of the Bialystok Ghetto (New York: Holocaust Library, 1987), pp.270–; Bronka Klibanski, Yad Vashem, 033/1351; Ania Rud, personal interview, Tel Aviv, 1995;Google Scholar
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  34. 33.
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  49. 40.
    Lusia Dlugi, personal interview, New York City, 1997.Google Scholar
  50. 41.
    Yitzhak Arad, Ghetto in Flames: The Struggle and Destruction of the Jews in Vilna in the Holocaust (New York: Holocaust Library, 1982) p.261; Document in the Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, No. 1251, p. 120, published inGoogle Scholar
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    Reproduced from the Moreshet Archives, D. 1.4650 is: ‘Operations Diary of a Jewish Partisan Unit in Rudniki Forest, 1943–1944’, pp.4–63–471, in Yitzhak Arad, Yisrael Gutman, Abraham Margaliot (eds.) Documents of the Holocaust (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1981).Google Scholar
  53. 46.
    Mina Volkowiski, personal interview, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1994 and 1995; See also: Henri Michel, The Shadow War:, p.185; Nicholas P. Vakar, Belorussia, The Making of a Nation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956), p.191. Both of these two historians agree that the basic motivation for coming to the forest was survival rather than patriotism or the desire to fight the enemy.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 47.
    Porter thinks that the literature about the partisan movement does not admit that women were treated in a sexist fashion. See: Jack N. Porter, ‘Jewish Women in the Resistance’, in Isaac Kowalski (ed.), Anthology of Armed Resistance to the Nazis, 1939–1945 (New York: Jewish Combatants Publishing House, 1986), vol.1, p.292;Google Scholar
  55. Earl Ziemke, ‘Composition and Morale of the Parisan Movement’, p.147 in John A. Armstrong (ed.), Soviet Partisans in World War II (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1964).Google Scholar
  56. 51.
    Leon Berk, Destined to Live, (Melbourne: Australia, Paragon Press, 1992) pp.173–177.Google Scholar
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    Sefer Hapartisanim Hajehudim (The book of Jewish Partisans) (in Hebrew), (Merchavia: Sifriath Poalim, Hashomer Hatzair, 1958), vol.1, p.442; Fanny Solomian-Loc, Woman Facing the Gallows (Amherst, Massachusetts: Word Pro, Inc., 1981), first published in Hebrew in 1972. This is a personal account of a Jewish woman partisan in a Soviet otriad and the discrimination she had to face as a woman.Google Scholar
  58. 59.
    In the forest physicians were in short supply, as were nurses. Usually they were accepted into partisan detachments. Nevertheless, occasionally Jewish doctors were discriminated against. Dr. Berk, for example, was refused entry into a Polish detachment. Nor was he sheilded from anti-Semitism in the Soviet otriad. See: Leon Berk, Destined to Live, pp.97, 122. Dr. Michael Temchin, The Witch Doctor (New York: Holocaust Library, 1983), emphasizes certain advantages that doctors had.Google Scholar
  59. 61.
    For illustrations of the instability and precarious position of these different camps, see the following: Yitzhak Arad, ‘Jewish Family Camps in the Forests: An Original Means of Rescue’, pp.333–353 in Rescue Attempts During the Holocaust, Proceedings of the Second Yad Vashem International Historical Conference (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1977). Lea Garber Kowenska, a member of a small family group in the Lipiczanska forest, touchingly describes how great suffering and mutual caring intermingled in the lives of that group. See: Lea Garber Kowenska ‘Dos vos hot sich fargidenkt oyf aibik’ (What is remembered forever) (in Yiddish) Jurnal Fun Sovietisher Heimland (Journal of the Soviet Homeland), no.4, 1971, pp.92–102; In an unpublished Yiddish memoir made available to me by her daughter, Lea Garber Kowenska further describes her life in the forest. In her group of fifteen people there were seven children. Some of them were orphans whom she and others picked up on the way to the forest; Yehuda Merin and Jack Nusan Porter, ‘Three Jewish Family Camps in the Forests of Volyn, Ukraine, During the Holocaust’, Jewish Social Science, vol.156, no.1 (1984), pp.83–92.Google Scholar
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  61. 62.
    The discussion of the Bielski partisan detachment relies mainly on my book: Nechama Tec, Defiance The Bielski Partisans, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). Initially, Tuvia Bielski and his group named themselves the Zukov otriad. Later on, when the partisans in this area became better organized, they renamed them as the Kalinin otriad. Actually, they were never referred to by either of these names but were simply called the Bielski otriad.Google Scholar
  62. 76.
    For clear statements about the centrality of Jewishness see: Gisela Bok ‘Alien Races and the Other Sex’, pp.162–186; Marion Kaplan ‘Jewish Women in Nazi Germany: Daily Life, Daily Struggles, 1933–1939’, pp.188–212; both articles are in Carol Rittner and John K. Roth, eds., Different Voices, Women and the Holocaust (New York: Paragon House, 1993).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Nechama Tec

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