After the war began, he became a leading member of the resistance in the Minsk ghetto and the commissar of a partisan group operating in the Belorussian forests. He discusses conditions in the ghetto and resistance activities.
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He found Minsk abandoned by the Russian government with about 70, Jews remaining in the city when the Germans came. He believed that Communism could solve the Jewish problem, and rather than abandoning his "people" the Jews to take an offer of refuge with an acquaintance, he stayed in the Minsk ghetto. The Germans immediately ordered the establishment of a Jewish ghetto in Minsk on July 19, CR2 Smolar describes how the head of the Judenrat was selected by the Germans. The Russian government "escaped like cowards".
Most of the Jews in Minsk did not know what Hitler represented since it was forbidden to write about fascism in the press. There were rumors but no one believed them. They thought they could negotiate with the Germans, or simply live. The first realization came in November on the Anniversary of the October Revolution when the Germans provoked the Jews and made them hold red flags in order to promote propaganda back in Germany that Jews are Bolsheviks. Some Jews were shot and the first transports were sent away.
Smolar and others established an organization in the ghetto to inform people about fascism. Responding to Lanzmann's questioning, he describes the conditions in the ghetto and forced labor of skilled workers. He suggests that there was not a quiet period in the Minsk ghetto. People were murdered daily shooting in the streets, fighting between the military and the Nazi party, Aktions. CR3 Smolar sings. Smolar was already in hiding at the time of the red flag provocation by the Germans. The slogan of the resistance organization referenced earlier was "ghetto is death"; it was established in the beginning of September , just three months after the ghetto was established.
The primary emphasis was to get Jews out of the ghetto. Smolar was the secretary of the resistance movement and convinced the head of the Judenrat to collect contributions for the organization and the partisans. The resistance movement was active in the ghetto for two years, with contacts from the Aryan side to find people Communists willing to fight the Germans. Smolar escaped to the woods in August He faced criticism because he was not given authority from the Central Committee to start an organization.
He talks about the liquidation of the Minsk area and Aktions against Jews. Smolar did not witness many events in the ghetto when he was in hiding; the details were reported to him by the ghetto police. So, they began to arm themselves with guns from Italians and Russians. He describes an Aktion where the Germans buried Jewish children alive under the watch of the German general commissioner Wilhelm Kube. The ghetto resistance group organized with the Soviet military on the Aryan side. Smolar tried to convince the Soviets that by saving Jews they were fighting the Germans, but anti-Semitism fueled a conflict and the Soviets turned the resisters into the Gestapo, even though the Jews had secretly sent medicine, a printing press, and clothes to the forest for the Soviet partisans.
Lanzmann asks about freedom in the ghetto.
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Smolar suggests that Jews of Minsk were different than the Jews of Warsaw with their mission to get out of ghetto and to fight. He confirms that the Judenrat collaborated with the resisters until March the Purim Aktion. CR5 After the Purim Aktion, the Gestapo considered the Judenrat a resistance organization and hanged all the members in the street with signs saying, "Stalin's Bandits".
Joffe, a Jew from Vilna, was named the new leader of the Judenrat, but there were no relations with Smolar's resistance group.
A reward for "Jefim Stolarewich" Smolar's ghetto name was announced. The Gestapo shot 72 Jews who were questioned about Smolar's whereabouts and said they would kill everyone if they couldn't find "Jefim". Smolar hid in a Jewish hospital safe from Germans afraid of contracting typhus. Joffe showed the Gestapo a document listing "Jefim" as dead and they believed him.
The Gestapo pressured and tortured the resisters' Soviet contacts on the Aryan side in July So, Smolar and his group decided to establish a Jewish partisan base outside the ghetto not only to fight the Germans but also to rescue Jews of the Minsk ghetto. Their task was to save any Jew who could escape the Minsk ghetto to the forests.
CR6 The police issued a false passport to Smolar so he could move about freely. The Jews of Minsk created seven detachments of partisans more than 2, people , mainly in Naliboki Forest.
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In , there were 20, partisans in the forest, including Jewish children. Smolar addresses trading guns in the ghetto and frightening the police with wooden guns. In June , Smolar was still wanted by the Gestapo and hid in an attic for two months. Then, there was an Aktion for three days when 20, Jews were shot, leaving only 9, alive in the ghetto.
A Russian woman helped Smolar leave the ghetto by an order of the Soviet organization based outside the ghetto. From her flat near Kube's headquarters, Smolar sent underground messages to help get Jews into the forest. He was discovered by the Gestapo and returned to the ghetto, where he hid in a pit, managed to escape, and created a new detachment in the forest.
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Jews from Germany and Czechoslovakia were sent to Minsk, and many refused to go to the forest. The relationship between Western and Eastern Jews was not great. They dealt in trade matters only. Smolar describes the primary means of murder of the German Jews by gas vans, in contrast to the Eastern Jews who were shot and burned. He expresses shock at the behavior of the German Jews and their illusions of survival. The Minsk ghetto was divided.
Kube privileged the German Jews. Smolar begins to describe a plot to poison vodka sent to the German front. CR8 The Soviets advised Smolar to abandon the poison plot, suggesting that chemicals should not be used in war. Smolar discusses additional methods of sabotage that his resistance organization pursued.
In the forest, he led the Jewish brigade. The news of the ghetto being liquidated received in September gave the Jewish partisans courage. German soldiers escaped through the forest in July and fought the already free partisans with force. Jewish partisan survivors were invited to march along with all the Russian partisans; those from the Minsk ghetto were selected to lead the parade.
Smolar suggests that the Soviet Jews had experience fighting as partisans. Lanzmann inquires about the death of German Jews by gas van, which Smolar again describes in detail. He says that Communism was an answer in the s, but now, the only alternative is a national sovereign Jewish state, which is why he emigrated to Israel. Smolar insists on being surrounded by Jews.
Smolar's battle decorations include the Red Star, a partisan medal with Stalin's portrait for victory over Hitler's Germany, and a Polish officer's cross. Smolar left Poland in December for Paris to write an anthology of Jewish poetry, and eventually illegally emigrated to Israel. Claude Lanzmann spent twelve years locating and interviewing survivors, perpetrators, eyewitnesses, and scholars for the nine-and-a-half-hour film SHOAH released in Lanzmann on October 11, , and have since been carrying out the painstaking work necessary to reconstruct and preserve the films, which consist of hours of interview outtakes and 35 hours of location filming.
It weaves together extraordinary testimonies to describe the step-by-step machinery implemented to destroy European Jewry. Tadeusz Pankiewicz was a Pole who ran a pharmacy within the confines of the Krakow ghetto, refusing the Germans' offer to let him relocate to another part of the city. He aided Jews by providing free medication and allowing the pharmacy to be used as a meeting place for resisters.go here
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They spend most of the interview in different parts of the Plac Zgody now Plac Bohakerow Getta , from which Jews were deported from the Krakow ghetto. They begin walking. Pankiewicz tells Lanzmann that in he got the order to run a pharmacy within the ghetto. The Germans first required him to prove that he was not Jewish. From the window of his pharmacy he could see all the deportations from Plac Zgody and the horrible treatment meted out to the Jews.
Lanzmann asks Pankiewicz to describe exactly what he saw. They are standing on Targowa street, the street where the Jews were gathered for deportation, and where Pankiewics's pharmacy was situated. White screen with some audio from to The first slate says "Warsaw" but the interview is clearly in Krakow. CR 2 Lanzmann and Pankiewicz are sitting outdoors on a bench on Plac Lwowska in front of a constuction site construction of a tram line? Lanzmann says that an Aryan-run pharmacy in the ghetto was one of a kind. Pankiewicz says that he lived at the Apotheke, because he had to be available day and night.
He says that after the liquidation [in March ], when the Jews would come from Plaszow, his pharmacy acted as a restaurant, supplying food to them. He talks about the division of the ghetto into two parts, part A where those still capable of work lived and part B where those to be deported lived. He describes the barbed wire surrounding the ghetto and the guarded gates at the edges. Lanzmann asks him to describe the "Grosse Aktion" on the Plac Zgody.
Pankiewicz says that Plac Zgody was the main deportation point and that he saw many terrible things from the window of his pharmacy. Lanzmann asks whether the Jews were hopeless and Pankiewicz says they were resigned. He says that when the liquidation came he himself did not eat for three days: he could not go out and he had always eaten in a Jewish restaurant.
Pankiewicz says that during the first deportation, in June , the Jews thought that they were being resettled in the Ukraine. However, by the time of the October 28, deportation the Jews knew that deportation meant death. A woman had written a letter to her relatives, telling them that she was in Belzec. Shots of people walking through the construction site. No audio. Close-up of sign reading 17 Plac Zgody.