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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Interview with Jewish partisan commander Frank Blaichman

JPEF: What do you think is important about Yom HaShoah v’HaGevurah?

Blaichman: People who wanted to remember the Holocaust created Yom HaShoah. They knew that they had to teach future generations the important lessons from the Shoah—so that it would never happen again.

JPEF: What lessons would you like to share with Jewish and non-Jewish youth today?

Blaichman: Jews should never forget that they are Jews. The day we were liberated, we thought that Fascism and Nazism were buried. Today, we see that antisemitism is still all around us. It is important for us to remember—and youth should be taught—that Jews fought and will continue to fight against antisemitism, bigotry, and oppression.

JPEF: As a Holocaust survivor and a Jewish partisan, you have many days of personal reflection and remembrance. How is Yom HaShoah v’HaGevurah different?

Blaichman: I am very grateful that there is a day to remember what happened during that time—it is a good thing that the memory stays alive for generations.

JPEF: Any further reflections about this memorial?

Blaichman: Most importantly that Jews can defend themselves. The only way we survived as partisans was that we had the courage to fight back. Growing up in Poland, we were never taught how to survive. We had to have courage—early on we accepted our fate. It is important that people know that when I was fighting as a partisan, it was as a Jew—I am a Jew, I was fighting as a Jew, and I survived as a Jew. Jewish students, especially, should be proud to be Jewish and know that there were Jews who fought back and survived.

To learn more about Frank Blaichman, please visit his biography.

To download the study guide Frank Blaichman: A Partisan Leader's Story please visit JPEF's RESIST Curriculum.

Photo source: JPEF Archives

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