Monday, April 24, 2017

Fighting Against

In honor of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, Jewish Treats looks at some of the resistance effort of Jews against the Germans. Although partisans were only able to inflict limited local damage, they nevertheless played an important role in the defeat of the Nazis.

In France, one of the most powerful organized resistance groups was the Armee Juive (the Jewish Army). It was formed in 1942 by Abraham Polonski and Lucien Lublin, both of whom had been active in the Zionist movement prior to the war. Many of the members came from Zionist youth groups. Based in Toulouse, much of its action was focused in southern France. The Armee Juive participated in sabotage and uprising. It accepted Jews and non-Jews into its ranks, but fought  with a specifically Jewish identification. In addition to acts of violence, the Armee Juive took responsibility for smuggling hundreds of refugees into neutral Spain and distributing funds from Jewish organizations such as the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to smaller Jewish resistance groups and Jews in need.

The Armee Juive joined forces with other Jewish resistance groups and also worked alongside the French national resistance groups. Resistance work was difficult and risky. In May 1944, a cell of 25 Armee Juive operatives was captured by the Gestapo in Paris. They were tortured for information before being sent to Buchenwald.


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