Need a boost? Some inspiration? Hope? Have I got a deal for you. A powerful film based on the most incredible true story you’ve never heard.+
They fought back.
It is August 1941. Nazi Einsatzgruppen are sweeping through Eastern Europe, systematically killing Jews. Polish Jewish brothers Tuvia, Zus, Asaelm and Aron Bielski are among the few who are not killed or restricted to ghettoes. Their parents, wives and children are dead, killed by the local police under orders from the occupying Germans. The brothers flee to the Naliboki forest, vowing to avenge their families.
They encounter other Jewish escapees hiding in the forest. The brothers take them under their protection and leadership. Led by Tuvia, they form and arm the Bielski partisans and rescue Jews from extermination as they fight back against the Nazi German occupiers and their collaborators. The action takes place in the vicinity of Nowogródek (Navahrudak) and Lida in German-occupied Poland (now western Belarus).
Although constantly hunted by Nazis, the partisans build a school, a hospital, and a nursery in their camp and live in the forests for more than two years. Under Bielski protection, 1,236 Jews survived the war, making it one of many remarkable rescue missions in the Holocaust. Their story is told in the 2008 film, Defiance. (That title has quite the ring to it, doesn’t it?) Daniel Craig stars as Tuvia.
Out of conflict comes courage.
Out of battle comes brotherhood.
Out of desperation comes DEFIANCE.*
After the war Tuvia, Zus and Aron emigrated to America and formed a successful trucking firm in New York City. According to the Epilogue, the Bielski brothers never sought recognition for what they did. The descendants of the people they saved now number in the tens of thousands.
If you see just one film this fall, see Defiance. Available on disc through the Timberland Regional Library. There will be a quiz on Friday.
*Remember that the next time you’re facing down some liberal pinhead or RINO. Or a chihuahua.
+ This post was originally published on October 29, 2014. In light of recent events on the political stage, this seems like a good time for a review. – Ed.