During the Holocaust, Jews throughout Europe sought to undermine the Nazis through an individual and collective acts of resistance. They engaged in a wide range of activities – praying clandestinely, documenting conditions in the ghettos, and taking up arms to fight – each one a courageous act of resistance that refutes the notion that Jews were passive victims. Rather, as their circumstances changed and the extent of the assault against them was revealed, Jews defied the Nazis in diverse ways in the attempt to preserve their spirit, humanity, dignity, faith, and lives.
Honored in the 2008 Excellence in Exhibitions competition of the American Association of Museums, Daring to Resist: Jewish Defiance in the Holocaust showed the dilemmas Jews faced under impossible circumstances. Artifact highlights included the shirt of Tuvia Bielski (partisan commander played by Daniel Craig on the film Defiance); the bag used by Kalman Farber to smuggle food into the Vilna Ghetto; and a Passover haggadah written from memory in the the Unterlüss labor camp for a secret seder.
This exhibition was made possible through major funding from: Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Elizabeth Meyer Lorentz Fund of The New York Community Trust, the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities*.
Generous leadership gifts were made by: Frank and Cesia Blaichman, Patti Askwith Kenner and Family, George and Adele Klein, Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert, and Shalom and Varda Yoran.
Additional support was provided by: The David Berg Foundation, Nancy Fisher, Robert I. Goldman Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, L’Oréal USA, Righteous Persons Foundation, and Gil and Claire (Israelit) Zweig.
Media sponsorship provided by The Jewish Week.
*Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.