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Jewish Partisan Stories Empower Teenagers Learning About Holocaust

By Sue Fishkoff

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 9 (JTA) — Sydney Pickman thought she “knew everything” about the Holocaust.

The 16-year-old from Queens had learned about it in school and at BBYO conventions. But like most of her friends she’d never heard about the Jewish partisans, the young men and women who fought the Nazis.

Her eyes were opened last month, when the San Francisco-based Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation presented a workshop to 200 teenagers at a BBYO convention in the Catskills Mountains in New York.

Pickman watched taped interviews with men and women who, when they were her age, had lived in the forests of Europe, scrounging for food, blowing up German trains, skirmishing with soldiers, trying to strike any blow against the Nazi war machine. She learned that 20,000 to 30,000 Jews had taken part in this resistance. Not only did they fight back, they set up camps in the forest to protect other Jews too old or too weak to fight.