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documentation of jewish resistance during WWII

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Never Be Afraid:
A Belgian Jew in the French Resistance

by Ken Wachsberger and Bernard Mednicki

French resistance, Jewish, Nazi, anti-semitism, Jews
"Not like lambs to the slaughter"

An ugly mythology developed in the first generation after the Holocaust that six million Jews went to their deaths “like lambs to the slaughter.”  Fortunately, a growing body of literature, including Never Be Afraid: A Belgian Jew in the French Resistance, has documented a massive resistance, originating in every ghetto and every concentration camp. Unfortunately, the Jews were outnumbered, living on starvation diets, and unable to trust members of the non-Jewish resistance, who were often anti-Semitic. Most who resisted died anyhow.

Bernard Mednicki is one who survived. A working-class Belgian Jew from an Orthodox Jewish, socialist background, he fled Belgium in 1940 when the Nazis invaded, took his family to the mountainous region of southern France, posed as a Christian, and, through a series of street-smart moves, found his way into the Maquis, the French resistance.

While there, he committed an act of self-preservation so horrendous, he repressed it for over forty years. Only while working with internationally known author and editor Ken Wachsberger was he able to unleash the memory and find the peace he needed to join his ancestors.

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Writing for Healing and to Preserve Your Legacy
Bernard is a storyteller supreme, in the best tradition of legendary Yiddish storytellers Chaim Potok, Bernard Malamud, and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

He wrote his story to preserve his legacy for his descendants. Bernard’s subsequent life-transformation shows the power of writing as an instrument of healing.

In an appendix, Philip Rosen, former director of the Holocaust Awareness Museum at Gratz College, puts Bernard’s experience in its historical context.

“moving, profoundly moving”
-Elie Wiesel

“engrossing … wonderful”
-George Cohen, Booklist

Complete table of contents

Author's Introduction

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Back to Our Books Jewish Maquis, France, WW2, Eli Wiesel, Yiddish story telling

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