The Minsk Ghetto 1941-1943: Jewish Resistance and Soviet Internationalism

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University of California Press, Jul 28, 2008 - History - 376 pages
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Drawing from engrossing survivors' accounts, many never before published, The Minsk Ghetto 1941-1943 recounts a heroic yet little-known chapter in Holocaust history. In vivid and moving detail, Barbara Epstein chronicles the history of a Communist-led resistance movement inside the Minsk ghetto, which, through its links to its Belarussian counterpart outside the ghetto and with help from others, enabled thousands of ghetto Jews to flee to the surrounding forests where they joined partisan units fighting the Germans. Telling a story that stands in stark contrast to what transpired across much of Eastern Europe, where Jews found few reliable allies in the face of the Nazi threat, this book captures the texture of life inside and outside the Minsk ghetto, evoking the harsh conditions, the life-threatening situations, and the friendships that helped many escape almost certain death. Epstein also explores how and why this resistance movement, unlike better known movements at places like Warsaw, Vilna, and Kovno, was able to rely on collaboration with those outside ghetto walls. She finds that an internationalist ethos fostered by two decades of Soviet rule, in addition to other factors, made this extraordinary story possible.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 JewishByelorussian Solidarity in World War II Minsk
11
2 Why Minsk Was Different
40
3 The Minsk Ghetto
77
4 The Ghetto Underground
110
5 Solidarity in Wartime Minsk
148
6 Going to the Partisans
188
7 The Soviet Betrayal of the Minsk Underground
228
The Kovno Ghetto
258
Conclusion
283
Notes
293
Guide to Names
323
Sources
329
Index
337
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Barbara Epstein is Professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Political Protest and Cultural Revolution: Nonviolent Direct Action in the Seventies and Eighties (UC Press) among other books.

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