Nadeslala Wanda Lacrampe
The Jews of the Byelorussian ghetto of Nieswiez resisted a Nazi “selection” on this date in 1942 by setting fire to their own homes and battling with German and Byelorussian guards. Thousands of Jewish residents of Nieswiez had been gunned down in pits the previous October. Under the leadership of Shalom Cholavsky, a 27-year-old Zionist Hebrew school teacher, the survivors had begun gathering guns, axes, knives and other weapons, building bunkers, and unifying the ghetto underground.
During the uprising, Cholavsky and his friends escaped through the flames and joined the partisans to establish a Jewish fighting force, the Zokov unit, which battled the Nazis in the forests for two years. After the war, Cholavsky emigrated to Israel and became a Holocaust researcher. He has published a long list of studies on the subject of the Holocaust and Jewish resistance in Belaruss.
“Jews! We are disconnected and isolated from the Jewish world, the wide world. Perhaps none of our cries will be heard. We may be the last existing ghetto and the last of the Jews. Only these silent walls will tell what they have endured. Jews! We will fight for our lives. We will protect the ghetto – the land of suffering. We will fight as the last Jews fought for their land. We will be prepared – the end may come at any time.” —Shalom Cholavsky