Chapter

Going to the Partisans

Barbara Epstein

in The Minsk Ghetto 1941-1943

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780520242425
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931336 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520242425.003.0007
Going to the Partisans

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The main goal of the ghetto underground movement was to send as many Jews as possible to the forests. This was also the goal of many Jews who were not members of the underground. This coincidence of aims gave the underground organization wide support within the ghetto population. The highest priority of the Minsk underground was to provide support for the partisan units in the Minsk region. This chapter discusses the emergence of partisan groups in occupied Byelorussia. The emergence of the partisan units was triggered by the German treatment of the prisoners of war. When the German army invaded the Soviet Union, many members of the Red Army were trapped in the German occupied territory. Fearful of the conditions they would face at the hands of the Germans, the trapped Red Army soldiers fled to the forests and formed organized groups. In 1942, what were once autonomous partisan groups began to form a coherent movement under Soviet leadership. Many of the groups shifted from a passive group to groups active in armed conflicts with the Germans. While the Germans avoided the partisan-controlled areas, by the second-half of 1942 they began to perform blockages, attacking villages which supported the partisans. As the German brutality grew, the hatred of Byelorussians grew. As the partisans needed more members, Jews and particularly Byelorussians started to join the partisans. These Byelorussians played a major role in the escape of the Jews from the ghettos.

Keywords: ghetto underground movement; Minsk underground; partisan groups; Red Army; forests

Chapter.  17341 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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