How did Jews fight back physically?

The Bielski Partisans. Photo Credit: US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Organized armed resistance was one of the key ways Jews opposed Nazi persecution in German-occupied Europe.

Jews formed armed resistance groups in over 100 ghettos in occupied areas of Eastern Europe. The organizers of these resistance groups were young men and women who did not want to let the Germans determine when and how they would be killed. Jewish youth movements – especially Hashomer Hatzair – were instrumental in creating these resistance groups.

In addition to trying to organize uprisings, the Jewish underground groups helped Jews to escape from the ghettos and, where possible, to join partisan groups to fight against the Germans and their accomplices.

There were armed uprisings in some ghettos and in several camps, including Treblinka, Sobibor and Auschwitz. The most famous of these revolts was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in which the ghetto fighters held off the surrounding German troops for almost a month from April 1943 to May 16, 1943.

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