Cover image for The story of an underground : [the resistance of the Jews of Kovno in the Second World War]
The story of an underground : [the resistance of the Jews of Kovno in the Second World War]
Levin, Dov, 1925-2016, author.
Uniform Title:
Toldoteha shel maḥteret. English
Publication Information:
Jerusalem ; New York : Gefen Publishing House Ltd., [2014]

Physical Description:
xxxi, 496 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published in Hebrew by Yad Vashem, 1962.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS135.L52 K385713 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DS135.L52 K385713 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This is the story of the fighting underground of the Jews of Kovno, Lithuania, in World War II. The authors, historians Zvie A Brown and Dov Levin, were themselves members of the Kovno underground, and this well-researched book based on documentary material, verbal testimonies, and written memoirs of witnesses, among other sources is supplemented by the authors own personal accounts. The authors here describe the first steps of the organised Jewish underground in the Kovno Ghetto, its desperate search for allies outside the ghetto, and its first bloodstained attempts to break through the ring of isolation and establish a base of support for partisan battle. They relate the insurgence at its height: contacts with partisans in the forest, acquisition of weapons and equipment, and training of fighters for partisan warfare. They also analyse the complex relationship between the Jewish fighting organisation on the one hand, and the Council of Elders and the Jewish police on the other, as well as the active assistance these official organisations gave to the underground. The text goes on to describe the operations of the partisans, many of whom were fighters from the Kovno Ghetto, and the process by which the fighters were accepted into Soviet partisan units. The authors paint a picture of daily life in the partisan brigades, including the tense relationship between the Jewish and non-Jewish fighters. They relate the final days of the underground as the ghetto was being destroyed, and then the last journey of the Kovno brigades from the forest bases back to liberated Kovno.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Introductionp. xvii
Key to Abbreviations Used in Footnotesp. xxxi
Part I Ravage and Horror
1 Murder and Plunderp. 3
2 The Ghetto in Frenzyp. 21
3 Birth of the Undergroundp. 55
Part II The Awakening
4 Toward Active Resistancep. 105
5 The First Breakthroughp. 127
6 Escape from the Fortress of Deathp. 157
Part III Momentum
7 The Partisan Forest Receives the Ghetto Fightersp. 185
8 The Preparations Behind the Departures to the Forestp. 226
9 The Resistance Movement in the Labor Campsp. 263
Part IV War of Revenge
10 The Birth of the Kovno Battalionsp. 277
11 Way of Life and Social Relations in the Partisan Unitsp. 306
12 Supply and Defense Activitiesp. 345
13 Partisan Missionsp. 362
Part V The Final Days
14 Last Days of the Kovno Ghettop. 401
15 Liberationp. 431
Appendix I Members of the Resistance Movement in the Kovno Ghettop. 449
Appendix II Index of Witnessesp. 455
Appendix III Map of Kovno Ghettop. 457
Suggested Readingp. 465
Bibliographyp. 467
About the Authorsp. 479
Indexp. 483
Maps following page 288:
Kovno (Kaunas) Vicinity 1941-44
Kovno Ghetto 1941-44
Searching for a Way to the Partisans
Partisan activity in southeast Lithuania in February 1944
Penetration of the Partisans into Lithuania and Offensive of the Red Army in July 1944