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'Family units' within or alongside the Soviet partisan movement were sites of survival for thousands of ghetto refugees in Nazi-occupied Belorussia. Oral histories and archival records of the partisan movement illuminate the organization of these units and point to internal conflicts within the movements that are related to antisemitism, sexism, and their intersection.
Part of a larger project on the experiences and memories of elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union, this talk attends to forms of resistance and rescue in a context of extreme violence. The paper argues that reproductive labor, the provision of shelter, food, and care, was central to securing survival for Jewish and non-Jewish civilians and partisans. Because of is traditionally marginalized position in favor of male-defined militarism and heroism, this labor was largely omitted in postwar portrayals of war and genocide in the Soviet Union and beyond, pushing its agents to the margins of commemoration and scholarship on Jewish resistance.
Anika Walke is a Postdoctoral Fellow in International and Area Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where she directs the project 'Migration, Identity, State.' She is currently completing a book manuscript, Jewish Youth in Ghettos and Forests: Oral Histories of the Nazi Genocide in Belorussia. She has published articles and book chapters on conducting oral history research in post-Soviet society. Current research interests include questions of memory and migration in the former Soviet Union and Europe, and histories of racism and anti-racism in the Soviet Union.