As you can see from this side-by-side comparison, the actor chosen to play for Tuvia Bielski in the 2008 film Defiance was a real doppelganger! I’m never going to watch this movie, so I’m just going to assume that the historical accuracy is as good as the casting accuracy.
Okay, that’s enough fun and games. In part one, I said I would talk about Soviet-initiated assault on the Polish partisans and conflicts with the local population who were subjected to robberies and violence, so let’s get to it.
Before we get to that, let’s look at something that isn’t disputed. From Wikipedia:
According to Kazimierz Krajewski, in May 1944, the village of Kamień in Stolpce was attacked by a force including Bielski partisans; 23 Home Army soldiers and 20 civilians were killed.
Right there we have the admission that the Bielski partisans were murdering civilians. This is a criminal act. Because the Bielski partisans were one) fighting Nazis, and two) Jewish, they get a pass, and films glorify their actions with good-looking actors to play them.
There is also no disputing that the Bielski partisans attacked “Polish fighters.” Again from Wikipedia:
Fighting on the Soviet side, the Bielski partisans took part in clashes between Polish and Soviet forces. On 5 March 1944, Zus’s fighter detachment and Soviet forces jointly attacked a group of Polish fighters, killing 47 and injuring 20 more.
Who were these “Polish fighters”? The Polish Home Army and other underground partisans. Were these Poles on the side of the Nazis? No, they were fighting the Nazis. The Bielski Jews took part in some of the over 100 documented clashes between Polish and Soviet forces—fighting on the Soviet side. Why would the the Soviets and Bielski partisans do this? Allow my robot assistant, Sarah (Bing AI), to explain:
The Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK) was the dominant resistance movement in German-occupied Poland during World War II1. As the Soviet troops advanced into Poland, they arrested and disarmed units of the Home Army, which revealed themselves during Operation Tempest2.
The Home Army’s allegiance to the Polish government-in-exile caused the Soviet government to consider the Home Army to be an impediment to the introduction of a communist-friendly government in Poland1. This hindered cooperation and in some cases led to outright conflict1.
After the Red Army had cleared most Polish territory of German forces, the Home Army was disbanded on 19 January 19451. After the war, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, communist government propaganda portrayed the Home Army as an oppressive and reactionary force1. Thousands of ex-Home Army personnel were deported to gulags and Soviet prisons, while other ex-members, including a number of senior commanders, were executed1.
This liquidation of the Polish Home Army by the Soviets was part of a larger strategy to establish control over Poland and ensure the implementation of a communist government. It’s a tragic chapter in the history of World War II.
With allies like the Soviets, who needs enemies?
In fact, the Bielski partisans didn’t actually fight Nazis all that much! I’ve only come across one claim about them killing Nazis, which was that they killed 12 German soldiers in March of 1944. Tuvia Bielski himself cautioned to his group repeatedly: “Don’t rush to fight and die. So few of us are left, we have to save lives. To save a Jew is much more important than to kill Germans” (source page 18). Contrary to what the Holocaust Encyclopedia entry below says, the Bielski partisans were mostly about saving themselves and helping the Soviets kill Poles.
I’d also like to remind everybody that the Nazi orders to combat partisans is considered (by the Allies) to be criminal. It’s almost like if you’re the loser of a war everything you did was evil, but if you’re the winner everything you did was justified and righteous because you were the good guys. And we can be assured that the Allies were the good guys because they won the war and can tell us that they are the good guys.
Anyway, when it comes to charges of the Bielski partisans raiding villages for supplies, both Bielski fans and critics are in agreement that this happened. In an article from New American, the author, who happens to be Eric Bell (aka Bielski), sticks this bit of information at the end of a paragraph, stating, “(…) If these necessities could not be purchased, armed partisans raided villages for their needs.” Bell didn’t really dwell on this topic. He didn’t really want you to think about how the area they were in was one of the poorest areas in all of Europe and the villagers were struggling just to survive. He didn’t want you to think of the violence involved in looting these villages and the devastation it caused for the already struggling residents.
No, don’t think of any of that. When you hear Bielski brothers you need to only think of this handsome gentile actor.
Now think back to that CBS12 article from part one. Do you think knowing more about the Bielski partisans would help combat anti-Semitism? Probably not. So what kind of “education” about Aron Bielski would help combat anti-Semitism? I’ll leave that up to you to work out.