Resistance – They Fought Back Movie Review: A Captivating Look at the Jewish Uprising

The Jewish resistance that took place during the Holocaust is something that isn’t as heavily discussed or documented in history classes or discussions. Sure, there have been movies that show specific uprisings, such as Defiance with Daniel Craig and Liev Schrieber as part of the Bielski partisans, and the miniseries Uprising, which focused on the most famous resistance event known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. But what most don’t know is that there were more than what has already been discussed and shown in history classes and movies.

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There’s no doubt that the Holocaust remains one of the most horrific events to take place in world history. But its portrayal of how the Jewish people reacted can sometimes be perceived as them simply being victims and not having the capability to fight back against Hitler. The new documentary, Resistance: They Fought Back, shows how there were many more resistance fighters than has already been discussed and portrayed. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Bielski partisans are the two most well-known and do get a mention here. But there was more than that. In fact, a total of 90 armed resistance groups fought back against the Nazis during the Holocaust. So, to think that the Jewish people were simply led to their death is mostly a lie. And the documentary does a fantastic job of showcasing just how they were able to stand up for themselves against the evil that they faced.

Resistance: They Fought Back features interviews with Holocaust survivors, their descendants, and historians to discuss the stories that aren’t told in history classes, and yet they should be. We are shown images, footage, and graphic image recreation of other uprisings that occurred during the Holocaust. Some of the images are difficult to watch, as they show people who were starved to death or nearly to death. The documentary doesn’t cover up the horrors and brutality faced by Jewish people during this time to make it more easily accessible for audience members, and it’s important for people to see these images and never forget what happened.

There’s an eerie parallel to which the movie does not allude, but I felt while watching. After the recent attacks on Israel by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023, one has to wonder how public reaction would have been had the Holocaust occurred in modern times. When Jewish people have been slaughtered and, rather than hold back and take the victim approach, the survivors decide to fight back against their enemies. And then the rest of the world calls for a ceasefire and that the other country needs to be “free” from said retaliating country. This documentary serves as a reminder that, when faced with extreme measures, the most difficult approach is sometimes the only one that can be taken.

Resistance: They Fought Back should be required viewing for every high school and college history class. It should be required viewing for those who wish for there to be world peace, but don’t understand the price that comes with it. It should be required viewing for everyone, so they can see that there’s more to the Holocaust than what we’ve been told. This is an expertly crafted and riveting documentary.

Resistance: They Fought Back is now playing in select theaters.

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David Wangberg

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