Nowogródek – The Story of a Shtetl
In his article, Yehuda Bauer discusses the shtetl of Nowogródek, and by cross-referencing a considerable number of accounts tries to reconstitute life in Nowogródek in 1939-1944. This article is an additional link in working out an increasingly detailed picture of the life and death of the Jews in the small communities in Eastern Poland, as well as on the similarities and differences between them. In his article, Bauer relates to Nowogródek as part of the continuum of shtetls studied by him and others, and makes the point that factors such as the nature of the local leadership, the existence or absence of forests around the towns, the presence of a friendly or hostile rural population, as well as the factor of luck help in understanding the differences between the reactions and different fates experienced by the Jewish towns or shtetls in what are today Western Belarus and Western Ukraine. Bauer sketches the everyday lives of the Jews in a shtetl, beginning with the arrival of the Soviet forces in September 1939, through German rule from June 1941 on, the obliteration of Jewish life in the town, and the resistance shown by Jews who joined the Bielski partisans. However, although a partisan unit was organized and there were forests nearby, the research makes the point that the Jewish community in Nowogródek, as an extreme case that does not speak to other communities that have been studied, fell to pieces in both organizational and social terms.