Page 60 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 32

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52
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
lationship of forces on the eve of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
He wrote: “We took stock of our position and saw that this was
a struggle between a fly and an elephant. But our national dig­
nity dictated to us that the Jews must offer resistance and not al­
low themselves to be led wantonly to the slaughter.”
TH E YOUNG RESISTANCE FIGHTERS
Our young friend Steve is already well on the way to finding an­
swers to his questions. His interest in the subject has been
aroused by a real hero named Motele to whom, as he put it, he
was able to relate. The fiction will serve as a stepping stone to
the documentary and, as he continues to read, he will discover
more young resistance fighters whose courage and discipline will
fascinate him no less than Motele’s did. He will learn that in
the ghetto of Minsk, in Byelorussia, a 12-year old girl named
Sima, and two 13-year old boys, David and Banko, carried out
dangerous assignments for the Jewish underground and became
a vital, life-saving link between the ghetto and the forest. As
Pioneers, the Russian equivalent for Scouts, they were thorough­
ly familiar with the terrain of the region. Their job was to lead
young, combat-ready Jews out of the Minsk ghetto under cover
of night and by the safest paths bring them to the forest where
they joined partisan detachments. Hundreds of Jews were thus
led out by these three children, and when their mission was
over, they remained in the forest, doing combat duty with the
rest of the partisans.
As Steve continues to read, he will learn to appreciate the
courage of those children who could not escape to the forest and
fought in their own way to stay alive in the ghettoes; the cour­
age to attend an underground school, either religious or secu­
lar; the courage to hide themselves from the eyes of the Nazis
during a blockade; the courage to leap over the ghetto wall to
the Aryan side and there to beg for food for themselves and
their parents. They were bread winners at the age of five and
six and to succeed in even a small measure in that responsibility
they had to be tough and fearless and cunning.
They continued to play hide-and-seek, but what a different
game it was now. Now it was hide from the guards while you
seek a quick exit from the ghetto; hide the piece of bread while