What were the partisan movements?

Group portrait of unidentified Jewish partisans (Circa 1940-1944). Photo credit:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Benjamin (Miedzyrzecki) Meed

Partisans were guerrilla fighters in remote areas who raided and disrupted German and Axis units.

Against overwhelming odds, Jews formed or joined partisan and other armed underground groups to fight against the Germans. There were Jewish resistance units in France, Belgium, the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland. Jews also joined general French, Italian, Yugoslav, Greek, and Soviet resistance organizations.

One of the largest and most important partisan groups was the Bielski Brigade, featured in the 2008 film, Defiance. The Bielski Brigade operated between 1942 and 1944 in western Belarus and was especially notable in that it also provided a safe haven for Jewish women and children.

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