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Bielski Brothers - does anyone know the story?


grethomory 1 | 154  
9 Jan 2009 /  #1
Does anyone know the story of the Bielski Brothers? I saw a show on A&E about it last night. It was really interesting. They state a movie is coming out today about it.
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,104  
9 Jan 2009 /  #2
Personally I know bits and pieces of the story but don't wish to get into a debate about them.

The movie you are talking about is "Defiance" which is just recently released.
celinski 31 | 1,258  
9 Jan 2009 /  #3
I saw a show on A&E about it last night

Last night I caught "The History Channel" special on the brothers. If this comes back I strongly recommend it.

It was rather graphic and had the original people and/or their children hosting. I was saddened when they would show "Nazi collaborators"[/ , as they were referred to, and how they would hear a family ratted them out and would take out the entire family and then burn the home, calling this their "scorched earth policy" another such man was taken from his home and back at camp they decapitated him. All in all it was well worth seeing even though some parts are upsetting and IMHO glorification was used for all actions of the group regardless of the fact entire family's were brutally slaughtered without even so much as a chance to defend themselves.

HatefulBunch397 - | 658  
9 Jan 2009 /  #4
The book is called Defiance it's by the author Nechama Tec. I have a copy of it and am currently reading it.
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
9 Jan 2009 /  #5
Ray mears did a survival programme on this very group , showing how they used their knowledge of the forest to hide and survive the war without being detected....
OP grethomory 1 | 154  
10 Jan 2009 /  #6
I just thought the story was amazing...I plan on getting the book and reading it. This was something I never knew about
celinski 31 | 1,258  
12 Jan 2009 /  #7
I find this to be the # 1 feeling.

Country split over whether Daniel Craig is film hero or villain

Historians say Bielski was affiliated with Soviet partisans directed by the feared NKVD, a forerunner of the KGB. He even named his unit 'Kalinin', after Stalin's crony Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin. Towards the end of the War, Soviet partisans terrorised ethnic Poles in Eastern Poland, including the region where Bielski's Kalinin unit operated. Some Poles suspect that Bielski's partisans were not only intent on driving the Germans out but opening the way for Poland to come under Soviet control.

entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film /article5420709.ece
ArcticPaul 38 | 233  
12 Jan 2009 /  #8
Ray mears did a survival programme on this very group , showing how they used their knowledge of the forest to hide and survive the war without being detected....[/quote]

After WW2 the oldest of the Brothers was offered a very senior position within the newly formed Nation of Israel. It was as a General in the Army (something like that).

He declined the offer and spent the rest of his life as a cabbie in New York.

I thought that made a wonderful ending to the story of one mans amazing life.

On another note....
I mentioned the Bielski's to a Polish academic I know and she told me that they murdered Poles in cold blood????
Does anyone know a less saintly story concerning this group?
polishcanuck 7 | 462  
12 Jan 2009 /  #9
Does anyone know a less saintly story concerning this group?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naliboki_massacre
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koniuchy_massacre

There seems to be quite a bit of controversy surrounding the bielski brothers, some say they were freedom fighters some say they were war criminals. I think it's safe to say that these allegations of (bielski) "war crimes" will never be proven.

On a side note, didn't one of the bielski brothers get arrested recently in the US for robbing an eldery woman of her savings??
celinski 31 | 1,258  
12 Jan 2009 /  #10
I think it's safe to say that these allegations of (bielski) "war crimes" will never be proven.

It's rather ironic but in the interview on CNN they speak of the actions proudly. And in this interview,

Zwick is a former journalist and a multi-threat, with long credits as director, movie producer and writer. He also has a remarkable record as a TV producer, most notably with "Thirtysomething," and he won an Oscar as co-producer of "Shakespeare in Love."

Yes I had to write a response, [quote]stashaok1/10/2009 6:55:33 AM

"But it's important to say that even if they were, to try to equate Jews participating in some attack on a village, which no doubt was in reprisal for something else, was in the context of wartime, and I'm afraid to say, understandable. " I wonder what the 10 year old boy murdered by the partisans had done to make it "understandable" . I wonder does the author agree that alleged Polish atrocities are acceptable as they could be considering "reprisals". I wonder what he thinks of the million German women raped by the Soviets. I guess they are "understandable" too. Some crimes such as stealing food are understandable and consider fair during war time BUT murder is murder regardless of your ethnicity/faith/ gender/nationality.
rickcee - | 1  
29 Jul 2009 /  #11
If you see the movie Defiance and read about the Bielskis, obviously they were no saints. But is that the point? Did they need to be saints to be on the side of right when it came to fighting fascism? The Germans (Nazis) were the animals they have been portrayed to be. Of that there is little doubt. What really fries my eggs, though, is the incessant anti-semitism on the part of many modern Poles today. How can you hang onto old, obviously wrong sentiments? I've read so many accounts of the Bielski Otriad on various message boards, and I must say that as a person of Polish descent, I am appalled at the apparent resentment and hatred for Jews STILL in this modern world. Isn't it time to bury the hatchet? I'm not alone in believing that Jews, like other minority groups, have had more than their fair share of abuse and discrimination in this world. Let's start this new century by thinking not how we can revive the old feelings of hatred and bias that have plagued humankind since the dawn of time, but how we can rise above those ancient resentments and create a new world in which people strive to seek the good in their fellow man. I, for one, choose to believe that the Bielskis, in all their foibles, complete with a history of smuggling and other not-so-perfect activities, were heroic in fighting one of the most horrific scourges in history--the fascist mentality of the Germans and Polish sympathizers. I want to live in a world in which we look for the good in people and not judge them by old standards of bias and prejudice.
sadieann 2 | 205  
29 Jul 2009 /  #12
Recently, just watched Defiance. Yes, it is controversial, but it does provide an insight into the survival of Jews. Fascinating true story. It's an epic of family, honor, vengeance and salvation.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346  
29 Jul 2009 /  #13
But is that the point?

Yes it is, they we're murderers who got glorified, thats always wrong.

but it does provide an insight into the survival of Jews.

Worthless information unless you want to argue that teaching your kids how to survive as a Jew in WW2 has some merit in everyday life.

It's an epic of family, honor, vengeance and salvation.

No its not, the movie is a lie glorifying a bunch of thugs and murderers.
Harry  
29 Jul 2009 /  #14
No its not, the movie is a lie glorifying a bunch of thugs and murderers.

How can you say that?! It doesn't glorify the local gentile population at all!
sadieann 2 | 205  
29 Jul 2009 /  #15
No its not, the movie is a lie glorifying a bunch of thugs and murderers.

Worthless information unless you want to argue that teaching your kids how to survive as a Jew in WW2 has some merit in everyday life.

Kids should be educated about history and WWII. I didn't deem it worthwhile or worthless. Merely stated the concept of the story. I didn't go into the Politics of the Bielski Brothers.

I did state that it was about vegeance. Yes, Murder was involved. It does make you question what individuals and a group will due for survival. Do you wonder if it's your last day or due you try to survive? Can you live with what you don't condone and commit the same atrocities?
Sokrates 8 | 3,346  
29 Jul 2009 /  #16
group will due for survival

What they did was not for survival, i could forgive if it was for survival, it was cold blooded sensless murder.
Harry  
29 Jul 2009 /  #17
it was cold blooded sensless murder.

Senseless it was not. Sensible it was.

Although some of it was still murder.
Pan Kazimierz 1 | 195  
30 Jul 2009 /  #18
Like the "sensible" killings of three women, several teenagers and a ten-year-old boy? Where's the "sensible" in the Naliboki Massacre?
Harry  
30 Jul 2009 /  #19
^ Where's the Bielskis in the Naliboki massacre?
scorpio 20 | 188  
30 Jul 2009 /  #20
How can you say that?! It doesn't glorify the local gentile population at all!

Harry must be referring to the communist affiliated Russian gentiles that assisted some of the Polish Jews in murdering Catholic Poles.
Harry  
30 Jul 2009 /  #21
^Either that, or the Catholic Poles who assisted the Nazis in murdering Jewish Poles.

There were complete and utter bastards on all sides in WWII (not that the Bielskis were bastards). However, these days it is unfortunately very rare to find Poles who will agree that not all Poles were complete angels and all too common to find Poles who say that all Poles were angelic victims and any Polish person who did anything wrong was either a communist or a Jew and therefore not a Pole!
scorpio 20 | 188  
30 Jul 2009 /  #22
To be more precise, Harry meant to say that there were complete and utter bastards on all sides in WWII (the Bielskis were indeed bastards). However, these days it is unfortunately very rare to find Jews who will agree that not all Jews were complete angels and all too common to find Jews who say that all Jews were angelic victims and any Jewish person who did anything wrong was either a communist or a non-religious or self-hating Jew and therefore not a Jew!
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
30 Jul 2009 /  #23
Jews and Poles alike joined the German patrolling units in Warsaw. Source: Szpilman

In fact, he made the point that far more Jews did that. He himself was a Jew of course.

Scorpio just summed it up beautifully in the first sentence above.
irishdeano 5 | 304  
30 Jul 2009 /  #24
If you see the movie Defiance and read about the Bielskis, obviously they were no saints. But is that the point? Did they need to be saints to be on the side of right when it came to fighting fascism? The Germans (Nazis) were the animals they have been portrayed to be

It was just kind of what any men would do, To stay alive, its instinct

I'm not alone in believing that Jews, like other minority groups, have had more than their fair share of abuse and discrimination in this world

They have suffered alot of abuse its a disgraceful what happened to themThe jews have also carried out alot of abuse and torture against other minority groups over the years you have to remember this. World war 2 was not very long ago really, People who are still from that era will never forget nor forgive

I really liked defiance and they story about the bielskis
Pan Kazimierz 1 | 195  
30 Jul 2009 /  #25
There were complete and utter bastards on all sides in WWII (not that the Bielskis were bastards). However, these days it is unfortunately very rare to find Poles who will agree that not all Poles were complete angels and all too common to find Poles who say that all Poles were angelic victims and any Polish person who did anything wrong was either a communist or a Jew and therefore not a Pole!

That is true. But if that's all the point you're trying to make, it would probably help you be heard more if you occasionally said some positive things about Poland and her people on these forums.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,442  
30 Jul 2009 /  #26
we are all aware of the positive qualities of polish people Panie Kazimierzu.
Harry  
30 Jul 2009 /  #27
But if that's all the point you're trying to make, it would probably help you be heard more if you occasionally said some positive things about Poland and her people on these forums.

Check my posts in the other forums, they tend to be more positive. Here in this forum there are more than enough cheerleaders for Poland (and more than enough racists and anti-semites).
firkegaard - | 14  
30 Jul 2009 /  #28
Bielski Brothers were a part of a soviet partisans. They were fighting the Germans, but not only. Imagine how were a couple of thousands of partisans organizing food, clothes, medicines etc. They were robbing local population. Of everything. In some villages a resistance was organized. Those villages (like Koniuchy) were obliterated by Bielscy and their soviet freinds. Adaults, children, women, the old, all were slaughtered to set the example, their homes were burned to the ground. only a few survived. In the later times the soviet propaganda told that in those villages partisans encountered 'kulaks' and other unfriendly to the communism 'elements'. The murderers of those people are treated as heroes in Israel, Russia and USA. They are now being gloryfied in a movie...

Now imagine what would happen if a movie that gloryfied murderers of Jews, who were also fighting communists was created...
Harry  
30 Jul 2009 /  #29
They are now being gloryfied in a movie...

Look who hasn't seen the film he's commenting on! In the film the Bielski's are clearly shown as murderers.
1jola 14 | 1,879  
31 Jul 2009 /  #30
However, these days it is unfortunately very rare to find Jews who will agree that not all Jews were complete angels and all too common to find Jews who say that all Jews were angelic victims and any Jewish person who did anything wrong was either a communist or a non-religious or self-hating Jew and therefore not a Jew!

They go further. Any Jew collaborating with the Germans or the Soviets is instantly absolved of crimes because he was saving his life.

#23
Jews and Poles alike joined the German patrolling units in Warsaw. Source: Szpilman

In fact, he made the point that far more Jews did that. He himself was a Jew of course.

Szpilman was a great pianist. His family perished, yet he stayed after the war in Poland and worked for Polish Radio although he had offers from all over the world. He loved this country and was well respected before and after the war. Just another tale of Polish antisemitism.

The Bielski brothers film is a feel good attempt to show that Jews fought back. They did in some cases, although it was rare, but in this case they simply did not. Picture 1,200 people hiding in the woods. That is a lot of mouths to feed. Their "fighting" was limited to avoiding detection and robbing the local population of scarce supplies. Their co-operation with NKVD is well documented by Jewish sources as well.

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