Resistance during the Holocaust, both Jewish and non-Jewish, is a daunting task to cover. Information abounds in relation to this which leads to the problem of putting all of it into one paper. Due to this, I will only cover the specifically Jewish Partisan fighters. The movements are divided into two groups of Eastern and Western Fighters. Partisans fought in almost every European country including but not limited to Belgium, Poland, Russia, France, Italy, Greece, and Lithuania.
“A partisan is a member of an organized body of fighters who attack or harass an enemy, especially within occupied territory; a guerrilla.” The Jewish partisans were mostly teenagers, both male and female, of which ten percent were women, but also included all ages, which either formed their own organizations or joined Soviet, Polish, French, or other major partisan groups. There were between 20,000 and 30,000 Jews who joined partisan groups. They were mostly normal people who were lucky enough to have escaped German camps, ghettos, transports, or who were never captured in the first place. The role of the women was usually to cook in the camps, smuggle weapons and ammunition, and serve as doctors and nurses, and other infrastructure roles. However, some did join in combat situations and some were even employed as scouts for the partisan units.
The Jewish partisans lacked weapons, shelter, and other essentials, so they were forced to steal what they needed and usually hid out in the forests and mountains. Any outside help in the East was supplied via airdrops from Moscow, and in the West it was via British airdrops. What they lacked in resources, they made up for in organization and efficiency. They were tied in with major underground communication systems and had a military like precision, similar to the Americans during the American Revolution. They helped distribute anti-Nazi propaganda and produced fake documents, fought in major battles against the Germans, and smuggled people, arms, money, and food in and out of camps, ghettos, and German occupied territories. Their main objective though was to harass the Nazis in hit-and-run maneuvers. They did this by blowing up trains, assassinating major Nazi officials, and hitting Nazi convoys. They also helped start major uprisings such as the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and the Sobibor revolt. Partisan casualties were usually low in number due to the method of fighting used. They were also successful due in part to the fact that they knew the lay of the land, where German soldiers did not.
A basic timeline of Partisan activities follows something close to the following. The first known Jewish resistance was in Belgium in 1939 with the Jewish Solidarity. These Jews joined the Belgium Army of Partisans in 1940 when Germany first started occupying Belgium. The resistance movement grew even larger when French and Greek Jews joined resistance movements in 1940 and ’41, respectively. The Eastern partisan groups sprang up...