A New Exhibit on the Jews Who Fought Back against the Nazis

While the basic facts of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising are relatively well known, few are aware of the numerous other instances of Jewish resistance against the Third Reich. Thus the myth persists that millions of Jews went “like sheep to the slaughter”—a biblical phrase famously invoked by a leader of one of those resistance movements. A new exhibit at the Wiener Holocaust Library in London aims to set the record straight, writes Robert Philpot:

[A]s the exhibition makes clear, in every European country which fell under Nazi rule, Jews resisted the Germans, their allies, and their collaborators. Sometimes that resistance was a part of wider underground organizations, while sometimes Jews established their own groups.

Warsaw and Bialystok—where several hundred Jewish fighters launched a short-lived uprising in August 1943—were but two of the seven major and 45 smaller ghettos in occupied Poland and the Soviet Union where Jewish underground groups operated. And the two cities were by no means alone in seeing Jewish armed revolts. In dozens of ghettos, including Krakow, Vilna, Kovno, Będzin, and Częstochowa, Jews took up arms against their persecutors.

The Minsk ghetto—the scene of another revolt—also saw an audacious effort to smuggle out Jews and sabotage German factories. The exhibition highlights the story of Mikhail Gebelev, who liaised between resistance groups inside and outside the ghetto and organized mass escapes in 1942. But Gebelev refused to escape himself. Aged thirty-six, he was betrayed and murdered by the Nazis in August 1942. Thanks in part to his efforts, however, up to 10,000 of the 100,000 Jews imprisoned in the Minsk ghetto successfully escaped, many of whom then joined the Soviet partisans.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Holocaust, Resistance

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas