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.”