Partisans of Vilna
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
- Bonus CD and songbook with lyrics in English and Yiddish: Partisans of Vilna: The Songs of WWII Jewish Resistance
- Study guide with historical background and questions for discussion
- Exclusive photo gallery
- Filmmaker biographies and statement
Top Customer Reviews
The film deals with the very troubling aspect of the Jewish police, or Judenrat, which was used by the Germans to keep the ghetto in line. Jacob Gens essentially served as the constable of the Jewish community during the German occupation, turning over members of the resistance with the false hope that this would spare the community at large. This led to horrible divisions within the crumbling Jewish community, which were painfully retold by the survivors.
The partisans took to the woods outside Vilna, joining up with Russian, Lithuanian and Polish partisan forces, and mounting a very effective resistance to German occupation until the Soviet tanks rolled in late in 1943. It was a tragic victory for the Jewish partisans, caught up in the wave of euphoria surrounding the defeat of the Germans, but having to bear witness to the destruction of the once proud Jewish quarter in Vilna.
Partisans of Vilna tells the story of these courageous men and women, many of whom fought and fought for years only to be rewarded with the fact at the end of the war that 20,000 Jews had dwindled to 3,000. They had no national army to back them and were even faced with antisemitism from their Russian, Polish and Lithuanian partisan tallies in the cold Eastern European forests. Their hardest conflict, however, came against the local Jewish police, who tried to appease the Nazis by letting them take small numbers of Jews to the death camps in order to save the majority. That was a hopeless idea, but the film demonstrates that a hope that time would save the Jews was not ridiculous and eventually made sure more of Vilna's Jews chose not to join the armed insurgents.
DVD Extras: Accompanying this 20th-anniversary edition are plenty of educational bonuses. An audio CD of Yiddish songs from the film, mostly inspired or written by the fighting partisans themselves, is accompanied by a 10-page Yiddish and English songbook with voluminous notes. Also here is a 29-page study guide, with historical background, questions for discussion, a timeline and a stellar bibliography that will be perfect for those whose curiosity is sparked. Commentaries include a filmmaking-focused one from director, co-writer and narrator Joseph Waltezsky, and another by producer and co-writer Aviva Kempner, who gives greater historical context and reveals tidbits of information about the people and places that didn't make it to the film.
The educational materials, the CD of partisian songs with translations make this an outstanding resource for teachers as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
THIS IS A REPLY TO THE ONE STAR REVIEW BY "ERUDITE":
There are "good and bad" Jews....just like there are "good and bad 'real Lithuanians'". Read more
This documentary dvd The Partisans of vilna is an incredible story of the human spirit. Everyone should see this DVD. It is very well done. Read morePublished on August 19, 2010 by julia
This video tries to make these people heroes... These people were not heroes, but traitors! They were only looking out for themselves and sold out Native Lithuanians to the... Read morePublished on February 21, 2010 by Erudite
I will order this DVD, following the reviews herewith, which tell the exceptional quality and historical interest of the material. Read morePublished on January 25, 2009 by Carlos Roso