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In the face of Nazi terror, many Jews resisted the Germans and their collaborators. Underground resistance movements developed in over 100 ghettos in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. Further, under the most adverse conditions, Jewish prisoners succeeded in initiating uprisings in some of the Nazi camps. Jewish partisan units operated in France, Belgium, the Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, and Poland. Jews also fought in general French, Italian, Yugoslav, Greek, and Soviet resistance organizations. While organized armed resistance was the most direct form of opposition to the Nazis, resistance also included escape, hiding, cultural activity, and other acts of spiritual preservation.
Between 1941 and 1943, underground resistance movements developed in about 100 Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. Their main goals were to organize uprisings, break out of the ghettos, and join partisan units in the fight against the Germans. The Jews knew that uprisings would not stop the Germans and that only a handful of fighters would succeed in escaping to join with partisans. Still, Jews made the decision to resist. Further, under the most adverse conditions, Jewish prisoners succeeded in initiating resistance and uprisings in some Nazi concentration camps, and even in the killing centers of Treblinka, Sobibor, and Auschwitz. Other camp uprisings took place in camps such as Kruszyna (1942), Minsk Mazowiecki (1943), and Janowska (1943). In several dozen camps, prisoners organized escapes to join partisan units.
Despite enormous obstacles, many Jews throughout German-occupied Europe attempted armed resistance against the Germans. Individual Jews or groups of Jews engaged in planned or spontaneous opposition to the Germans and their allies. Jewish partisans were especially active in the east, where they fought the Germans from bases established behind the front lines in forests and ghettos. Because antisemitism was widespread there, they found little support among the surrounding population. Even so, as many as 20,000 Jews fought the Germans in the forests of eastern Europe.