Defiance

We watched a great dvd last night – Defiance. It’s based on the true story of the Bielski brothers who hid and led almost 1200 Jews through the Belarusan forests away from the Nazis during WWII. Whilst it starts slowly, as the forest community takes shape and everyone finds their new place, so does the film and themes like ‘an eye for an eye’ vs ‘turn the other cheek’, and the cost of life itself play over and over again. At the end of the film, the notes say that the two older Bielski brothers went to New York and continued to work together for more than 30 years – and that today, there are tens of thousands of Bielski descendents around the world.

I still find it difficult to believe that the horror of the Holocaust went on unabated for so long and that there are people around the world who actually don’t believe that it happened at all. We were fortunate enough during high school to meet a Holocaust survivor and when I remember his stories and the dignity with which he valued his life and honoured his beliefs, I still feel moved.

But what was so inspiring about the movie is the community that was created – where everyone participated and worked and received the same reward and recognition of their part in return – and the courage of these people to believe and to act when Tuvia Bielski led them away from the familiarity of their ghetto to a life ‘worth fighting for’ – both frightening in different ways but perhaps the unknown more so. Watch this movie and I reckon it will raise questions about humanity – including your own.

You can click on the blog title to view the trailer for yourself.

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