The Partisans, Underground Fighters, and Ghetto resistance Monument
On April 9, 2008, during the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, the main monument was dedicated to the partisans, ghetto resistance and Jewish underground fighters who fought in World War II.
The monument is located at the Yad LaShiryon (Armored Corps Monument) site in Latrun, and is part of the memorial Museum for the Jewish Soldier in WWII.
The ceremony was held by the Association for the Establishment of the Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II and the Yad LaShiryon Association in the presence of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Maj. Gen. (res.) Haim Erez, Chairman of the "Association for the Establishment of the Museum of the Jewish Fighter in World War II" and Yad LaShiryon, Chairman of the Partisans Organization, Underground Fighters and Ghettos, Mr. Baruch Shuv, veterans of the partisans and fighters of the ghettos and resistance movements Ambassadors and military attaches, officers and soldiers of the IDF and other guests.
The artist and former partisan Alexander Bogen, who immigrated to Israel in 1951, designed the monument. He has exhibited in many countries, served as the chairman of the Painters and Sculptors Association in Israel and works to commemorate the Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.
Mr. Noam Lanir, the son of the pilot, Lt. Col. Avi Lanir, who fell in the Yom Kippur War and was tortured to death in Syrian captivity, the nephew of Staff Sergeant Israel Barzilai, who fell as a tank commander in the battles of the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War .
From the words of Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the dedication ceremony of the monument to the partisans, Ghettos Resistance and Jewish Underground Fighters in World War II 9.4.08:
Mr. Baruch Shuv, Chairman of the Organization of Partisans Underground Fighters and Ghetto resistance, my friend Maj. Gen. (res.) Chaim Erez, Chairman of "Yad LaShiryon" and "Jewish fighters in World War II," Ambassadors, veterans and distinguished guests.
The dedication of this monument in memory and honor of the partisans, The Underground and the ghettos resistance fighters . during the Second World War is another important milestone in the commemoration and the passing on of the legacy of Jewish heroism during the dark years of the Nazi Occupation.
This place, "Yad LaShiryon", overlooking the Ayalon Valley and the battlefields from the days of Yehoshua Ben-Nun until the War of Independence of the State of Israel, symbolizes the connection between the heroic conflicts of the Jewish people throughout the ages. This is where they merge and unite into one heritage that is now the heritage of the IDF.
Of the many aspects of World War II - the largest and most decisive of all the military conflicts in our history - there remains a chapter which is somewhat neglected the story of the guerilla warfare waged against the German army by both organized and informal groups including the Jewish partisans who fought in the rear of and in the wings of the Nazi armies and their allies.
The image of a people led like sheep to the slaughter is a slur on the truth. Jews were not always merely slaughtered. They also fought, and relative to the number of Jews in the World at the time - their participation in the fighting was even very high.
The number of Jews who fought in WW 2 is estimated at approximately 1.5 million. They served in regular armies, especially in the Red Army, in the American army and in the British army, in which Jewish Eretz Yisrael battalions also served, and they fought in underground and partisan organizations.
The partisans operated under harsh conditions that are difficult to imagine. The Jewish partisans - all the more so. Many of them operated in a hostile and violent anti-Semitic environment on the part of the local nationalist organizations that opposed the Nazi regime. Life in the forests in dire conditions and fear of death, exposed to the savage revenge of the German army, was unbearable.
But the urge to rise up, to defend honor and to sanctify the name of Israel motivated you and your friends to acts of courage and heroism.
Standing in front of the monument, we praise all the partisan fighters, our Jewish brothers and sisters in the partisan battalions in: Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, the mountains of Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Algiers the rebels in the Warsaw ghetto,and the Vilna ghettos, and the death camps in Treblinka and Sobibor; The members of the Jewish Regiment in the Resistance in France and the Jewish Uunderground in Belgium - and all the others who acted alone and in small groups and their heroism remain anonymous and unknown. Everyone deserves the glory.
The welcome activity of the Association for the Establishment of the Museum of the Jewish fighter in World War II is of great educational value. It expresses the duty of the State of Israel and the duty of of all the Jewish people to honor those who gave their lives either as individuals or as small groups in the underground and under siege.
Thank you and all the partners in this important project, and especially to the artist Alexander Bogen for his wonderful work, to Noam Lanir, to his mother Michal and to his sister Nurit, the family of Avi Lanir, whom I have been privileged to know as one of the greatest Israel air combatants of all the time, who even as a prisoner guarded the top secrets of the State of Israel at the cost of his life. To Noam and the family, I would like to thank you for your generosity and for your help so that this monument could indeed arise.
Even after 60 years since its establishment, Israel has not yet attained peace and security, and the spirit of the Jewish partisans whose songs the Palmach fighters sang around the bonfire, as did we the young fighters of IDF on the eve of the battle. The spirit of these Jewish partisans in World War II lives with us, in these days too, when IDF soldiers and officers are fighting day by day against those who are unwilling to accept the rebirth of Israel in its land.
The explanation about the partisans in the monument
Shalom and welcome to the memorial site dedicated to the Jewish partisans and underground fighters of World War II. The monument you see here is the creation of the partisan artist Alexander Bogen.
During World War II many civilians living in European countries that were occupied by Nazi Germany, led underground resistance against the German occupation. The battlefields of the partisans were in the forests and their struggle took place mainly in Russia and Yugoslavia. The objective of the partisans’ guerilla warfare was to create disorder for the German army on the home front. They also aimed to hit transportation routes to the front and rear lines, to prevent the Germans from using the economic resources of the occupied lands, and to force the Germans to use their fighting units to secure the home front. All these steps were meant to support the allied forces in their efforts to defeat the enemy in the frontlines.
Indeed, the Germans were forced to move many of their troops from the frontline to lead strikes against the partisans. The German soldiers acted with severe cruelty against the local population in the regions where the partisans were active. They led their campaigns of terror into the woods, hunting down the partisans, massacring tens of thousands of people and burning down hundreds of villages. In spite of all this, the Nazis were unable to force the partisans to surrender. As Nazi terror tactics increased, so did the partisans' activities.
Throughout Europe, wherever partisans and underground fighters were active, Jews fought with them shoulder to shoulder. These Jewish Partisans numbered tens of thousands.
Most of the Jewish Partisans had escaped from the Ghettos, slave-labor camps and concentration camps, fleeing into the forests where they organized, procured weapons and prepared for battle. In many cases, the partisans also led uprisings against the Germans before they escaped into the forests.
In several places Jewish partisans acted as independent units, but in most cases they were active within the organized Soviet partisan movement. Thousand of Jews, including women, children and the elderly, escaped from the Ghettos and found shelter in the forests where they established family camps. These camps included an armed nucleus that provided supplies to the members and protection from hostile forces.
Life in the forests was very difficult and dangerous. The Jewish partisans and the civilians living in their camps faced anti-Semitism from fellow, non-Jewish, partisans. Many Jews fell victim to ultra-nationalist Ukrainian and Polish partisans. Despite all the hardships, life in the forests gave the Jewish partisans the privilege and opportunity to fight the enemies of their people and for many of them, the chance to survive.
The Jewish Partisans led many successful attacks against the Nazi enemy, taking revenge on the murderers of Jews. Many of the partisans lost their lives in the fight against the Germans and their local collaborators.
In western and southern Europe, as well, throughout the German occupied territories, anti-Nazi underground organizations included thousands of Jews. Without a doubt, they contributed their share to the victory over Germany in World War II.
At the end of the war the Jewish partisans and underground fighters took an active role in leading the escape activities of the Dispkaced Persons from Europe and the clandestine immigration to Israel. Many were among the fighters in Israel's War of Independence in 1948.
The Jewish partisans and underground fighters, in their struggle against the Nazi enemy and its collaborators, inscribed a page of courage in the History Book of the Jewish people.
On the monument in front of you, the horizontal section represents those who lost their lives. The obelisk rising high symbolizes hope and revival. The monument expresses the vision of the end of the days where both death and revival of the Jewish people are intertwined.
This monument was established here in the Ayalon valley facing Jerusalem, a region that has experienced many wars throughout the Israel’s history. The site is located on the grounds of Yad LaShirion – the museum and memorial center for the fallen soldiers of the Israeli Armored Corps. Yad LaShirion, which honor
s the legacy of bravery of the people of Israel, has taken on the task of commemorating the Jewish soldiers, partisans and underground fighters of World War II.