Jews Without Yellow Stars

stories of Jewish partisan fighters in occupied Belarus - translated from the Yiddish

by Hersh Smolar and Ruth Murphy, translator


This item will be released on August 6, 2024.

About this book

Ruth Murphy’s Jews without Yellow Stars is a careful translation from the original Yiddish of Hersh Smolar’s Yidn on gele lates, a collection of stories about Jewish resistance to the German invaders in what was then Belorussia (now Belarus) during World War II. Smolar, a Polish Jew and writer, trapped in German-occupied Minsk during the war, became a leader of the Minsk Jewish resistance. Smolar’s vignettes, written soon after the war was over, vividly describe the suffering of Jews in Belorussian ghettos, the dangers that they encountered living in partisan units in the forest, and their passionate hatred of the German Army for its slaughter of their families and their people. Belorussia, unlike European countries to its west, was covered with dense primeval forests, which became the main terrain of the battles between partisans and German soldiers. Unlike in Poland and other West European countries, Jewish and Soviet partisans frequently joined together in fighting the Germans. As elsewhere in Europe, Jewish female partisans, whose children in many cases had been murdered by the Germans, fought the Germans with particular ferocity. Smolar’s own participation in these events, and his skill as a writer, give his account of the Jewish resistance in and near Minsk a rare immediacy.
—Barbara Epstein, author of The Minsk Ghetto 1941-1943: Jewish Resistance and Soviet Internationalism