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Fighting the good fight

We are used to seeing Ghetto Jews in WWII films – defenseless, tyrannized, murdered. For once, we see wild Jews, peasants fighting in a forest camp, trying to survive between Nazis & Soviets on the Eastern Front.

In the camp, a socialist intellectual is quarreling with a kind of Rabbi. They also play chess. The encamped people are not religious, but certainly not intellectuals, else they would be dead already. But they are cowards. The first chance they get, they form a mob. One evening, a boy plays a lamentation on his violin.

Three brothers lead them, who soon learn to kill & to run. They saved more than 1200 Jews in the war. Their dead themselves died fighting. They become fathers to everyone. Asael is too young to know himself. Tuvia is the serious man. Finally, Zus is the headstrong one. He head butts a tree when he hears his wife & child are dead rather than mourn. But he is more man than brother. Not even woman can tame him.

The brothers have to organize their camp. This means that they must seek the common good & find a principle by which to bring order. They welcome shoemakers & other useful craftsmen. Watchmakers learn to repair guns. Useless craftsmen learn new crafts. The arts of war replace the arts of peace. It takes a wild Jew to make warriors out of these city Jews freed from the ghetto. Perhaps they will die nevertheless, but die fighting. Property is shared, because everybody is poor. – Necessity makes a family of them. All must work, for war & survival. The women learn to shoot. Childbirth is forbidden. – Necessity has made an armed camp of the city.

Now they have a chance to survive winter in the forest. The soldier sacrifices his horse for food. Another mob forms. Then he allows one malcontent to form an armed group, does not kill him, grows sick, & sees this creature turn the camp to barbarism & tyranny. Eventually, he kills the malcontent, after everyone suffers enough.

Then war comes. They catch a German & learn a massive combined arms attack is coming. Another mob forms, screaming for justice, meaning revenge. Tuvia should stop the mob, abandon camp, & lead them away. Instead, he lets the slaughter happen. They are wrong to lose their minds. They eventually run, but under fire. Soon they become hopeless. Then clever Asael saves them.

They lack faith. They fight rarely & without much courage. They are never prepared to run & do not know where to run. They never fully return to the forest; their ruler cannot compel them & fails to persuade them that necessity guides his rule.

A good example of the Jewish patriarchate. See it!