May 1, 2008, - 12:36 pm

“Defiance”–Movie I Can’t Wait To See: Daniel Craig Stars As Jewish Resistance Leader Who Fought & Killed Nazis; Gun Control vs. the Jews

By Debbie Schlussel
Earlier today, a reader made the misinformed comment that the Jews “willingly” went to their slaughter at the hands of the Nazis, “without even trying to fight back.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are many books (like “They Fought Back,” by Yuri Suhl), documentaries, etc. that document the Jewish resistance efforts. My own great-uncle died in the resistance, fighting the Nazis.
Since it’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, I’m happy to present this trailer of “Defiance,” starring the hot Daniel Craig (“James Bond”) as one of the Bielski Boys, three Jewish brothers who lived in the forest, set up a militia, saved 1,200 Jews, and killed hundreds of Nazis. They also destroyed lots of Nazi weapons and munitions. There were among many other groups of Jewish partisans and resistance fighters who did, in fact, fight back–and kill–lots of Nazis. The movie comes out in December.

You must understand that there was strict gun control in Nazi Europe. Jews were not allowed to own guns to defend themselves. Those that did, did so illegally. But many did fight back.
I’ve written about many of these Jewish militias and spoken about it, including twice at the National Rifle Association annual convention (until I was banned by Islamist NRA board member, Grover Norquist). My own grandfather, the late Isaac Engel, Blessed Be His Memory, a Holocaust survivor and Rabbi by training, proudly owned several guns and used them to protect himself and his business in a bad area of suburban Detroit. He always recounted several instances of when the guns saved his life, including when he was a “shoichet,” a kosher slaughterer.
My grandfather told me of Jewish efforts to form an underground army fighting Nazi tyranny and how his brother–my great-uncle–lost his life fighting in such an effort. My grandfather and my late father, H.L. Schlussel, MD, would also recount how on the eve of the Holocaust, the late Zionist leader Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky visited Europe from his home in then-Palestine. “Yiddin Learnin Shissin!”–Jews Learn to Shoot!–he would tell them in Yiddish. And he told Jews to get guns, the only way to protect themselves. But when he came back to Europe, Jabotinsky lamented that Jewish efforts to learn to shoot and to obtain guns were too little, too late.
But that wasn’t the case for all. There were the heroic Bielskis, portrayed in “Defiance.” And there were so many other courageous Jewish efforts of resistance as depicted in the blue Jewish stars on this first photo from the brochure, “Holocaust And Resistance,” which documents 79 instances in which Jews resisted and/or killed Nazis.

This second photo also documents Jewish resistance efforts and is from the Partisans section of “Encyclopedia Judaica”. The encyclopedia documents the efforst of Jewish Partisans, like the courageous Robert Gamzon, founder of the Jewish Maquis which aided in the fight against the Nazis. Gamzon’s group helped the Allies in the landing on French shores, attacking the restreating German forces and capturing an armed Jewish train.

Gamzon’s group was part of the Organization Juive de Combat (OJC)–Organized Jewish militia–which carried out 1,925 actions, including 750 instances of sabotaging Nazi trains, destroying 32 Nazi factories, and blowing up 25 bridges. It also executed 152 Nazis and Nazi-allied soldiers and agents, including a German spy. In 175 other actions, it killed 1,085 Nazis, and blew up seven German planes, 286 trucks, and more than 2,000,000 liters of gasoline.
Jews comprised 15-20% of the French resistance, and 2,000 Jews were in the Slovak partisan movement. That’s aside from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and many other Jewish partisan groups and Jews who participated in other resistance groups.
Jews did, indeed, fight back against the Nazis. They were brave and courageous. And “Defiance” shows just one group–the Bielski Brothers–who saved lives and slowed the Nazis from their final solution.
I can’t wait to see it.
Read more about the heroic Bielski Brothers in “The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Saved 1,200 Jews and Built a Village in the Forest” and “Defiance: The Bielski Partisans.”

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20 Responses

Debbie, check out – and mention often – JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership). Never again, right?!

knobdy on May 1, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Jews have fought throughout history against the greatest of odds. Its been worth it, even amidst suffering and death such as that encountered by the Bielski Boys, because they are G-d’s dear light. His light to the world. Let’s remember why that brings solace to every true friend of the Jewish people and why it angers their enemies to no end.

NormanF on May 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm

We actually agree on something! This looks like a great story and I can’t wait to see the film. It’s especially appropriate given that your site had an earlier disturbing post by someone who said he was tired of hearing about the Holocaust because the Jews were “sheep” who didn’t fight back. Hopefully this movie, the surrounding publicity, and the books you recommended will put that kind of anti-Semitic lie to rest.

JibberJabber on May 1, 2008 at 3:32 pm

That’s for those who want to check out the excellent work there.
The Nazi gun laws are still with us, however.
Senator Thomas Dodd, father of the current senator and presidential hopeful Christopher Dodd,
had the Nazi gun laws translated and foisted upon us as the Gun Control Act of 1968. A real POS…..
Never give up your guns.

Shootist on May 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Please tell us more abut being banned at the NRA.
As an NRA Life Member since I was 15 (thats 35 years now) I would like to know the whole story.
Though I’m a Life Member I am not at all pleased with everything they’ve done but without them over the past 30 years gun owners would likely have a much different environment.

robscottw on May 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm

This comment is addressed to the complete IDIOT who said Jews were like lambs to the slaghter. In addition to all the above mentioned try looking up Hanna Senesh.
For those who don’t know, she was a Hungarian Jew, living in then Palestine, now Israel, who was trained by the British army to parachute into Yugoslavia during the Second World War in order to help save the Jews of Hungary, who were about to be deported to Auschwitz.
Senesh was arrested at the Hungarian border, imprisoned and tortured, but she refused to reveal details of her mission, and was eventually tried and executed by firing squad.

OneIrishJew on May 1, 2008 at 4:39 pm

BTW: Hanna Senesh was about 23 years old when she was executed. She could have stayed in Israel but she chose to try and resecue fellow Jews.

OneIrishJew on May 1, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Three big points (so big I’m reposting from another thread)+:
1) Those that governments would enslave — or destroy — they first disarm.
2) Never forget that the American Revolution started with a British gun grab.
3) While I’m on a roll: when fools make moral comparisons between the USA & Nazi Germany ask them who the White Rose students were. Chances are few even on this list know. Then ask them if they know who MLK was. “Non-violent resistance” only works if your nation has a conscience — in other words, if it still holds to the Judeo-Christian tradition.

DocLiberty on May 1, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Daniel Craig as a real hero? Yummm:) Seriously, looks like a good movie.

mindy1 on May 1, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Check out your local PBS station:
Secrets of The Dead
The death factory at Auschwitz was a closely guarded secret of the Third Reich – until two men, Rudolph Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, escaped to tell the world.
Everyone assumes that the Holocaust was common knowledge, even during the war. If you ever watched HBO’s Band of Brothers, remember, one of the last episodes where the 101st paratroopers were the 1st to liberate a death camp. HBO again did Conspiracy, about the secret Nazi conference that planned the Holocaust.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

LocalLawman on May 1, 2008 at 10:32 pm

“There are stars whose radiance is visible on earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for Mankind.”

OneIrishJew on May 2, 2008 at 12:03 am

You are right on this. Many victims attributed nonlethal motives on the part of the NAZIs. No guns, a noncriminal, submissive society to begin with. Horrid. It took a while to sink in. retch.

Pat on May 2, 2008 at 3:06 am

Another movie to check-out about Jewish Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto would be “Uprising”. It was shown as a mini-series on TV several years ago and not seen since. I believe it is available from Amazon and maybe Blockbuster.
“..and let he who hath no sword sell his garment and buy one” –A Jewish Guy named Jesus Christ.

Shootist on May 2, 2008 at 10:02 am

It is about time that a movie like this was made.
SHOOTIST, that is one of my favorite biblical quotes. Shootist was a great movie as well.

samurai on May 2, 2008 at 10:23 am

“Gun Control vs the Jews”
How ironic, considering that so many gun control activists – the ones that want to flat-out tget rid of guns in Western societies – are Jewish.
When it’s “Nazis” that are anti-Semitic want our guns, it’s “good” to have them to fight back,but when Communists want them, it’s “wrong” to fight back.

OldSchoolW on May 2, 2008 at 11:43 am

My brother and I are avid target shooters, yet thanks to Canada’s draconian gun laws, we only get to go out once or twice a year when we visit the U.S. Still, we manage to get some nice groupings. Not the most conventional thing for a couple of “nice Jewish boys”.
You can read about our adventures here:

Derek Kreindler on May 3, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Where are the Bielski Brothers when we need them?

Ben-Yehudah on May 11, 2008 at 3:02 pm

I’m very excited to hear about this movie. I published a YA historical novel a couple of years ago called Escaping Into the Night (Simon and Schuster, 2006), which recounts this story. It’s an amazing story that I was totally unaware of until I came upon it at a visit to the National Museum of the Holocaust.
D. Dina Friedman
Author, Escaping Into the Night; Playing Dad’s Song

D. Dina Friedman on June 16, 2008 at 10:04 pm

I am Jay Bielski, son of Zus. Sonia Bielski, his wife (my mom) is still here and will see the movie Defiance this Sunday as well as all the Bielski offsprings. I just hope she doesn’t confused Leiv Schreiber (plays Zus) as her husband. Director Edward Zwick cordially invited the Bielski Family to attend a special advance screening of Defiance, Sunday 9/14/08 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC. The Bielskies are still actively fighting the good Jewish fight all over the globe, both with and without arms.
Debbie keep up the good work and Jewish pride.

bielski on September 8, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Unfortunately, Daniel Craig *hates* guns: see here:

bobn on October 30, 2009 at 10:50 pm

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