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Fighting Back: Lithuanian Jewry’s Armed Resistance to the Nazis, 1941–1945

Dov Levin, translated from the Hebrew by Moshe Kohn and Dina Cohen
Fighting Back: Lithuanian Jewry’s Armed Resistance to the Nazis, 1941–1945
ISBN: 978-0-8419-1389-9
1985/298 pages/LC: 83012605
Distributed for Holmes & Meier Publishers

"Meticulously researched and exhuastively detailed, this study traces the painstaking efforts of Jews, despoiled of haven and hope, to combat the onslaught of the Nazi death machine."—Holocaust and Genocide Studies

"Bound to become a classic, a model in the field of writing Holocaust history and the history of Jewish resistance."—Martyrdom and Resistance


Fighting Back chronicles the activities of the Lithuanian Jews who fought against the Nazis—in the Soviet army, in the forests, in the ghettos of Vilna, Kovno, Shavli, and Svencian, and even in the concentration camps. Dov Levin, a member of the Kovno ghetto underground and then a fighter with the Lithuanian partisans, brings both meticulous scholarship and his own personal experience to this richly detailed account of battles fought on a little-known front.


Dov Levin, now deceased, was director of the Oral History Division of the Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was awarded the Yitzhak Sadeh Prize in Military History for his work on the armed struggle of the Lithuanian Jews during World War II.


  • Foreword—Yehuda Bauer.
  • Introduction: Lithuanian Jewry Before WWII.
  • In the Soviet Sphere of Influence.
  • The Soviet Take-Over.
  • The Lithuanian Jews and the Soviet Regime.
  • Lithuanian Jews in Russia.
  • In the Red Army.
  • The Lithuanian Division.
  • The Jewish Soldiers: A Cross-Section.
  • The Jewish Solders in Various Units.
  • The Jewish Soldiers in Battle.
  • The Status of the Jewish Soldiers.
  • National Motifs of the Jewish Soldiers.
  • The Jewish Soldiers and Other Jews.
  • Jewish Soldiers in Other Military Units.
  • In the Ghettos and Labor Camps.
  • Background and Development.
  • In the Large Ghettos—Vilna and Kovno.
  • In the Small Ghettos—Shavli and Svencian.
  • The Social and Ideological Bases.
  • "Routine" Underground Activities.
  • Major Resistance Plans and Their Execution.
  • Relations with Ghetto Authorities and Communists.
  • Departure for the Forests.
  • In the Forests—Partisan Warfare.
  • The Partisan Units.
  • The Jewish Partisans in Action.
  • The Jewish Motif.
  • Portrait of the "Struggle" Unit.
  • Summing Up.