The Jewish partisans: Untold stories of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust





Ed. note: With Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, approaching this weekend, the Chronicle profiles two former partisans."If I was going to be killed, I was going to be killed as a fighter and not because I was a Jew," a steely female voice said in December via a videotaped interview shown at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco's Kanbar Hall."That itself gave me strength to go on."

Beneath the huge overhead screen Sonia Orbuch sat proudly as a sold-out audience of 500 applauded. Orbuch could never have imagined that scene 10 years ago. For most of her life, Orbuch seldom shared her World War II experiences outside of her family, feeling the horrific tales of concentration camp survivors were more important. Orbuch also saw many trials and terrors as a Jew in the tiny Polish town of Luboml during the German occupation. But tales like hers are still rarely heard.

Jewish resistance took many forms during World War II, from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, in which an armed Jewish insurgency fought the Germans for more than a month, to the Sobibor extermination camp rebellion in 1943. Even mere survival under the Nazis, many historians contend, was an act of resistance. An estimated 20,000-30,000 Jews became armed resistance fighters known as partisans...

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