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The Minsk Ghetto 1941-1943Jewish Resistance and Soviet Internationalism$
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Barbara Epstein

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520242425

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520242425.001.0001

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Strategies of Resistance Elsewhere: The Kovno Ghetto

Strategies of Resistance Elsewhere: The Kovno Ghetto

(p.258) Chapter 8 Strategies of Resistance Elsewhere: The Kovno Ghetto
The Minsk Ghetto 1941-1943

Barbara Epstein

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the strategies of resistance beyond Minsk. It focuses on the Kovno ghetto and its efforts to send Jews to the forest. The story of the Kovno ghetto forms a useful point of comparison with the Minsk ghetto underground. In contrast to the approximately ten thousand Jews who reached partisan units from the Minsk ghetto, only about three hundred Jews reached the partisan units from the Kovno ghetto. These differences were caused by geographical and logistical differences between the two ghettos. Like Minsk, the Kovno ghetto was surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, however the sentries of the Kovno ghetto were stationed at intervals along it. Kovno was not like Minsk, which was within a day's walk of the partisan forest. It was not possible for the residents of the Kovno ghetto to leave on their own, walk to the forest and search for partisan groups to join. The most important difference between the Minsk and Kovno ghetto was that the Minsk ghetto was part of a united underground movement while the Kovno ghetto did not have external allies. Due to the weakness and the isolation of underground forces outside the ghetto, Kovno was only able to send limited numbers of Jews to the forest. This Kovno story highlights the significance of external allies, such as links to a strong underground organization, and a dense network of ties between Jews in the ghetto and non-Jews outside it. In addition to discussing the story of the Kovno ghetto, the chapter also tackles the ghetto revolt that dominated the ghettos of Vilna, Warsaw, and Bialystock.

Keywords:   resistance, Kovno ghetto, Minsk ghetto underground, external allies, Kovno, Vilna, Warsaw, Bialystock

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