Youth and Resistance Movements in Historical Perspective
Based on memories of his experiences as a member of Hashomer Hatzair and the Jewish Fighting Organization, Gutman describes the structure and activities of the Zionist youth organizations in Warsaw before and during the war. The dialogue stresses the reorientation toward more practical and mutual aid activities after the establishment of the ghetto. The movements ceased to be preoccupied solely with their own internal affairs and turned their attention to broader public issues, such as labor camps, relations with the Judenrat, relations between Jews and Poles, and reports from other ghettos. The youth organizations became the avant-garde of the Jewish resistance, due also to the leadership aptitudes of Mordechaj Anielewicz and others. That the Germans did not take any interest in the internal life of the Jewish community is noted. The armed resistance in the ghetto represented the conception of “a Jewish war,” which originated in the Vilna ghetto, totally separate from the Polish anti-Nazi resistance.