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The Bielski Brothers (History Channel) (2009)

Asael Bielski , Zus Bielski , History  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Asael Bielski, Zus Bielski, Tuvia Bielski
  • Directors: History
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KZOUU0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,242 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Bielski Brothers (History Channel)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The true story behind Edward Zwick's Defiance is laid out in this brisk, straight-to-the-point account of the Bielski brothers, the leaders of a large, organized Jewish resistance effort during World War II. Escaped Jews from the ghettoes of Eastern Europe joined together in the woods under the leadership of Tuvia, Zus, and Asael Bielski, and for over two years they created their own hidden society of approximately 1200 people. This History Channel installment gathers together survivors of the partisan movement to tell stories, some of which are incredibly moving, such as the escape of Mike Stoll and his sister Bella from a train headed to a concentration camp. Another survivor recalls escaping the horror of the ghetto and coming upon the Bielskis in their forest enclave, where Jews were no longer under the heel of the enemy: "The whole camp was… something of a dream." The documentary's brevity means we don't get much depth on how the Bielski partisans actually survived from day to day, although a couple of the interviewees are frank about what they had to do to keep going. But this is balanced by the value of actually hearing the voices and seeing the faces of those who were there; when one woman sings a song of the camp, the decades suddenly collapse. As a companion piece to Defiance, it suggests the Zwick film was faithful to the facts, and to this story of heroism under terrible circumstances. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Living in the Soviet Republic of Belorussia during World War II, Tuvia, Asael and Zus Bielski saved more than twelve-hundred of their fellow Jews from perishing in the Holocaust, yet their story has largely gone untold. The Bielski's built an elaborate village in the woods, from which they rescued Jews and mounted guerilla attacks against the Nazis. Their forest haven included a gun workshop, a bakery, a synagogue, a communal bath and even a theater company. Containing interviews with Bielski Brigade survivors in the United States, Israel and Great Britain, we proudly pay tribute to three of the greatest unsung heroes of the Holocaust.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to the Movie Defiance February 4, 2010
I was impressed by the extras in the DVD Defiance that had its own documentary featuring pictures and discussions with the Bielkski children. This DVD features not only the Bielski family, but also actual footage of the survivors still living today.

Fascinating footage of actual partisans at work, actual on location shots of the village in the woods. This is simply a great history and a must for video of fighting oppression and tyranny.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bielski Brothers March 17, 2009
This is one of the best WWII documentaries I have seen by the History Channel. It does an excellent job of not only giving you the facts, but making you feel like you experienced what happened when three Belorussian brothers that happened to be Jewish decided to try and hide others like themselves from the Germans. That would have been heroic in itself, but these three brothers didn't stop there, they used guerilla tactics against the Germans as well. Good quality DVD with plenty of replayability. If you enjoyed this catch Defiance.

CA Luster
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent April 2, 2009
This DVD is great. True heros. The Beilski brothers make me proud to be Jewish. I am very happy their story was told. I am surprised it took this long to have this awesome story surface to the public. Better late than never.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars everyone should see this August 31, 2009
I found the story of people helping each other to be essential to the human spirit. So many in the world who have thought that Jews were led to slaughter like sheep have been wrong. This is the powerful and true story of a Jewish resistance movement during World War II in the Bellarus area of Europe. I was amazed at the strict dicipline that was used; but it was effective. An excelent production that was also well acted.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
(4.75 stars)

This History Channel DVD tells the rarely heard of story of how three strong and brave hearted Jewish men, the Bielski brothers, fled the Nazis to seek refuge in the forest near their village in Belorussia. It also tells of how the Bielskis allowed and encouraged any other Jew seeking refuge the right to join them in their forest camp. The documentary flows in chronological order and it is replete with stories from actual survivors of World War II who lived in the Bielski camps, archival film footage, commentaries by children of the Bielski brothers and even some comments by the youngest Bielski brother, Aron.

The story is incredible. The Bielski brothers were tough--people all over their region in Belorussia knew of the Bielski brothers because they were THAT tough. When they initially hid in the forest, it was essentially just them. However, word travels; and so eventually more and more Jews risked their lives escaping from ghettos and trains to concentration camps to wander through the forest in the hopes of finding the Bielskis and their camp for refugee Jews. We see the Jewish group also working with Russian partisans against the Germans; and again they were very brave indeed. They did what they had to do to survive; and of course most of the stories we're told are not for very young children.

In particular, I loved the comments we get from the children of the Bielski brothers and the survivors who lived in the Jewish refugee camp run by the Bielskis. It's so meaningful and touching; indeed they're frequently so emotional that you'd have to have a heart made of stone not to be moved by it.

It may well seem like I've told you too much; but I left out much more so as not to spoil it for you.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
"The Bielski Brothers" is a History Channel documentary that recounts the true life, inspiring, and miraculous story of how three brothers - Tuvia, Zus and Asael Bielski who were also Jewish, set up a camp deep in the Belorussian forests during WW II which provided refuge to Jews escaping Nazi persecution. The numbers grew and against all odds, about 1,200 Jews survived the war in the forest camp. The refugees had to move frequently, being constantly hunted by the Nazis, and though there were casualties, hundreds more survived which is amazing considering the constraints they were under.

The documentary features archival records, and also interviews with survivors and the descendants of the Bielskis. This is a must-watch documentary as it tells the story of unsung heroes and more importantly of Jewish resistance against Nazis which was not prevalent during WW II for varying reasons. The most famous instance of Jewish resistance during WW II was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the Bielski brothers and their band of fighters deserve recognition for standing up to the Nazis, setting up a well-organized camp in the forests even with the odds stacked up against them. A miracle indeed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No captions!! July 29, 2009
What a shame this documentary only has sub-titles for the speakers who do not speak English. Most of the others have heavy accents. I wear hearing aids and it was nearly impossible for me to understand a great deal of what was said. How can any modern production not be captioned for the hearing-impaired?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bielski Survivors Speak December 5, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The movie "Defiance" was incredible! Craig and Schreiber performances were exemplary. I'd say Craig was at his best.

The story line only touches upon the time line of the real events. I realize that this is a movie and compilation of true events and they did a great job!

The movie company could not film in the current country of Belorus. It's very strictly governed. And, remember that Jews were not well-loved in the old Belorus.

The movie crew search European locations and found exactly the same types of forests, soil types and swamps as there were in Belorus. They filmed during 12 weeks of Winter . The Bielski Otriad faced 6 months of Winters, that can be 30 or more below zero at times. Kudos to the reality of the locations.

Worth owning and re-watching from time to time, as I have on numerous occasions.

This History Channel is revealing in such a way that the movie could not be as they interview relatives and survivors of the Bielski Otriad. To see and hear one of Tuvia's sons and Asael and Chaya's daughter is incredible! [She speaks of her father's death fighting the Germans as they were informed by the Russian Army.]

Pay close attention to her expressions and body language. The book points out that a Russian officer hated Asael. Hmmmm.

Tuvia's son would be at the regular gatherings [at home] of many of the survivors through the years. He was constantly told what a great man Tuvia was. He did not understand until the much later in life and more information came out.

Tuvia was no angel, but best suited to the task before him. Read the book! The one by Nechama Tec. I have most of the others as well. Haven't read them yet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 2 months ago by E. Castaneda
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent focus on the Bielski brothers
Nice complimentary documentary to "Resistance: Untold Stories of Jewish Partisans" by PBS. Whereas the first is somewhat broader in scope, this one focuses specifically on... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mike Pollard
4.0 out of 5 stars Bielski Brothers Review
A fascinating look at a little known aspect of the eastern front during World War II and the resistance of Jewish people to the horrors of the Nazi holocaust. Read more
Published 6 months ago by GKB
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I bought it.
Loved watching this true story. It was recommended to me by Patriot Nurse and it is a fascinating story of survival!
Published 6 months ago by charlotte collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Courage
The Bielski family retreated into the Lithuanian forests during Nazi occupation where they launched guerilla attacks against Nazi forces and rescued Jews that would have perished. Read more
Published 7 months ago by RTA Rider
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome story
seen on history channel but had to order the book and ordered the dvd also.very warm that family heroism
Published 7 months ago by barbara james
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn about WW2
I loved this story and it was presented in a clear and professional manner. World war 2 buffs should not miss this.
Published 10 months ago by A. Kaye
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost history
I had never heard about this piece of history. Now that I have, I think it's amazing and everyone should hear this incredible story.
Published 14 months ago by Jennifer Glodo
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
This video is even more exciting than the movie. These people were not only heroes, but someone any nation would acknowledge. Read more
Published 16 months ago by ksmith
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical detail.
If you enjoyed Defiance, this will add detail to what was portrayed in that film. It takes some polish off the hero image of the brothers, showing them to be rougher characters... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Steven E. Sylvester
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