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The Spark of Resistance in Kovno Ghetto and Dachau-Kaufering Concentration Camp

Edited and with an introduction by Laura M. Weinrib

Publication Year: 2009

Under the brutal conditions of the Dachau-Kaufering concentration camp, a handful of young Jews resolved to resist their Nazi oppressors. Their weapons were their words. Beginning with the Soviet occuption of Kovno, the members of Irgun Brith Zion circulated an underground journal, Nitzotz (Spark), in which they debated Zionist politics and laid plans for postwar settlement in Palestine. When the Kovno ghetto was destroyed, several contributors to Nitzotz were deported to the camps of Dachau. Against all odds, they did not lay down their pens. Nitzotz is the only known Hebrew-language publication to have appeared consistently throughout the Nazi occupation anywhere in Europe. Its authors believed that their intellectual defiance would insulate them against the dehumanizing cruelty of the concentration camp and equip them to lead the postwar effort for the physical and spiritual regeneration of European Jewry. Laura Weinrib presents this remarkable document to English readers for the first time. Along with a translation of the five remaining Dachau-Kaufering issues, the book includes an extensive critical introduction. Nitzotz is a testament to the resilience of those struggling for survival.

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. v


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

As a young child, I awaited my grandfather’s visits with a little anxiety. He was every bit the pünktlich German: rational, serious, bookish. Every morning he would leave for the university library, and every evening he would return with a stack of photocopies...

Part One: The Voice of Resistance

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pp. 1-84

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1. Introduction to Nitzotz

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pp. 3-14

The problem of representation during and after the Holocaust is a mainstay of Holocaust studies. There is a widespread sentiment among Holocaust scholars that critical reflection was impossible within the concentration camps...

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2. The Making of an Underground

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pp. 15-47

As a history, this introduction to Nitzotz is partial, fractured, and distorted. First and foremost, the discussion is limited by what survived the massive destruction of documents and human life. More generally, it seeks to distill to a handful the countless...

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3. Reading Nitzotz

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pp. 48-75

Nitzotz began as one of the many projects undertaken by the members of Irgun Brith Zion. In the ghetto, IBZ had organized youth programs on issues ranging from plant life to politics in order to solicit broad-based participation...

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4. Liberation and Legacy

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pp. 76-84

On May 9, 1945, four months after the final Allied assault on Germany, the war in Europe officially came to an end. For the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, the long-awaited liberation was a complicated endeavor, logistically and psychologically...

Part Two: Nitzotz

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5. Nitzotz, Issue 3 (38) (1944)

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pp. 87-96

Dear brothers, At this very moment—while our fellow children of Israel are celebrating the holiday of our heroes, the Maccabees,1 who fought for the liberation of our homeland and our nation...

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6. Nitzotz, Issue 4 (39) (1945)

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pp. 97-106

Dear friends, In days of mourning, anguish, and torment we address you with great news: Our idea, the idea of unity, the banner that we carried in the underground and in our years of labor within the ghetto...

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7. Nitzotz, Issue 5 (40) (1945)

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pp. 107-125

Following an extended silence of almost half a year, the social interests among the survivors have revived. Just like three years ago in the ghetto, after the first stormy autumn and harsh winter had passed, now too social involvement increased...

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8. Nitzotz, Issue 6 (41) (1945)

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pp. 126-143

Lately, as the community in the camp has reawakened, discussions have centered on the future of our nation and the future of the Zionist movement. Articles have been published on this topic in Nitzotz. Differences of opinion regarding the future...

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9. Nitzotz, Issue 7 (42) (1945)

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pp. 144-151

If now, after five years of consistent Zionist work, we were to account for our most recent years, could we say that allowing for our extraordinary working conditions we have really done everything possible for the nation? We know that...

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pp. 152-153

The five issues of Nitzotz circulated in Dachau-Kaufering that appear in this volume are only a handful of the forty-two that were produced. The underground Zionist journal of which they were part, which began in opposition to the Soviet occupation...


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pp. 157-160


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pp. 161-187


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pp. 189-194


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pp. 195-201

E-ISBN-13: 9780815651611
E-ISBN-10: 0815651619
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632337
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632339

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 31
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 821725590
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Nitzotz

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Germany -- Dachau -- Influence.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Jewish resistance -- Germany -- Dachau.
  • Jews -- Germany -- Dachau -- History -- 20th century.
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Lithuania -- Kaunas -- Influence.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Jewish resistance -- Lithuania -- Kaunas.
  • Jews -- Lithuania -- Kaunas -- History -- 20th century.
  • Nitzotz.
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