Jewish Youth Rebels in Holocaust

A new museum has been opened that focuses on activist youth rebellions against the Nazis, especially during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Hana Levi Julian and Kobi Finkler , | updated: 9:58 AM

Warsaw Ghetto memorial
Warsaw Ghetto memorial
Creative Commons

A new museum, named for the commander of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Mordechai Anilewicz, has been established to memorialize the youths who rebelled against the Nazis during the Holocaust. Besides emphasizing the role of youth groups in the Warsaw Ghetto, the museum also brings to light hitherto unknown resistance by ordinary civilians.

The opening of the museum was timed for the 50th anniversary of the Heritage Museum at Kibbutz Givat Haviva.

The museum's current displays mark the 65 years since the murder of the paratroopers who were sent by the Yishuv (the name of the State of Israel prior to its official establishment) to Europe -- among them, Chaviva Reich, for whom Kibbutz Givat Chaviva, where the museum is located, was named.

Dr. Grisiella Ben Dror, Executive Director of the Heritage Institute, noted that "we live in a period of materialism and the quest for individual gratification. The idea of a nation having a joint destiny and the ideal of  personal sacrifice in order to achieve that destiny cannot be taken for granted.That makes perpetuating the principles upon which the State of Israel was established a crucial goal.  The triumph of the spirit  that empowered the struggle against absolute evil during the darkest period in Jewish history and the civilized world, can be used as a symbol and model for the youth of today."

The museum places a particular emphasis on the steadfastness of ordinary people in the community, who guided and directed members of the youth movements during the Holocaust. Daily activities such as smuggling people, children and food, the refusal to surrender, survival of the family, spiritual resistance expressed in Jewish studies and the documentation of the atrocities, as well as armed resistance -- all are reflected in the unique visual displays of the museum.

The museum  places Mordechai Anilewicz' personal story within the context of the common fate of the Jewish people. Materials displayed are taken from the rich reservoir of the Heritage Institute's vast archives, which contain rare collections of papers, documents, pictures and other objects collected over the years.

In addition to the permanent exhibitions at the museum, there will also be temporary, dynamic exhibits, featured as part of a new and unique enrichment program combining art, music, theater, creative writing and plastic art.

The  museum will display a unique exhibit called "The Face of Resistance: Women in the Holocaust," which tells the story of the lives of dozens of women during World War II and the Holocaust. The exhibit includes the stories of women who enlisted in the Allied armies to fight the Nazis, and the Israeli female paratroopers who parachuted into enemy territory and were caught and murdered at the hands of the Nazis.

The museum is located in Givat Chaviva and is open free to the public, Sunday through Thursday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Please call the museum in advance to arrange a guided tour, at 04-630-9201 or 04-630-9261.