Saturday, August 15, 2009


Last night we finally got around to watching the film Defiance on cable. You may recall that it is the true story of the Bielski brothers, during the 40s in Russia. When the Nazis came and wiped out their village, they were off smuggling or engaging in some other shady business. They were used to hiding from the police, so when they arrived at the village to find their father dead and their little brother hiding in the root cellar, traumatized, they took to the woods. As their stay there went on, they accumulated a group of ill-equipped women, elderly people, and children from the Warsaw ghetto and the nearby Jewish villages and towns. The eldest brother amazingly taught all of them to wield weapons and build structures, till they had a synagogue, a school, a hospital, and underground tunnels.
Last year, his grand daughter came to our synagogue and showed us footage from a documentary she was making about her grandfather. It is an amazing and very moving story. Though the characters in the movie we saw last night are poorly defined, it is exciting and worth watching, especially thinking about the truth behind this tale.
The guy was certainly a modern Moses, and the experience shaped him in unexpected ways.

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