March 5, 2009
Ed Zwick’s ‘Defiance’ Sparks Protests in Poland
The Jewish resistance film “Defiance” starring Daniel Craig has provoked a wave of protest in Poland. It is being booed in cinemas and accused of distorting history, according to The Guardian.
Although locals recognize the fact that the Bielski brothers formed an armed resistance against the Nazis and saved 1200 Jews from certain death, there is a widespread perception that they were also violent towards Polish locals. Nationalists, in particular, continue to believe that the Bielski brothers colluded with Soviet partisans in a 1943 attack on the village of Naliboki in which 128 people were killed. This, “despite historical investigations that have exonerated them,” as the article states.
Adding fuel to the fire is the Polish media, who view the Bielskis more as thugs and bandits than resistance heroes. The conservative newspaper Rzecpospolita ever so bluntly stated that the Bielski brothers raped and murdered during their efforts to obtain food for their forest hideout.
Whether these accusations are fact or fiction, the Bielski brothers were clear in their mission: they were battling a large, powerful and brutal enemy, they could trust no one, and their only aim—no matter the cost—was to save their own from Nazi death camps. The morality of going into their war, I think is justified. Maintaining morality once you’re at war is certainly harder to come by.
From The Guardian: