Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Stephen Berk




Poland, the Holocaust, ghetto, partisan warfare, occpation, Jews


This thesis examines Jewish resistance in Poland during the Holocaust. The study relies on primary sources written by people who lived through the Holocaust, and the writing of historians, who have taken primary sources and turned them into historical texts. These sources are used to chronicle resistance in the ghettos and the forests of Poland with accurate details. The study focuses heavily on Jewish youth organization’s involvement in the resistance movement, and highlights major Jewish youth organization’s existence before and during the Holocaust, as well as Polish-Jewish relations before and during the war. Also covered as a precursor for resistance are the events that transpired during German occupation of Poland, and how it curtailed Jewish life. For the purposes of analysis, the issues have been grouped into two major categories—ghetto, and forest resistance. Within the major categories, there are subsidiary categories that provide detailed information on Jewish resistance. For the ghettos this study incorporated resistance in the Warsaw, Bialystok, and Vilna ghettos. The Lodz ghetto was also analyzed to illustrate how and why resistance did not form there. In the forests, two major partisan movements are highlighted in this study; the Bielski partisan unit, and the partisan unit in the Rudnicki Forest. Within the ghettos studied it is proven that where Jewish youth organizations were present, and had contact with people outside the ghettos, armed resistance formed. In these three ghettos the Jews were able to muster attacks against the Germans, and preserve Jewish life. The study also concludes that partisans in the forest were able to play important roles in weakening the German war effort, and saving Jewish life. The Bielski partisans and the partisans in the Rudnicki Forest faced great success in saving Jews, and sabotaging the enemy.