In 1941, the Nazis initiated their murderous campaign against the Jews of Belarus. Three brothers, Tuvia, Asael, and Zus Bielski, refused to become victims, and courageously fought back. They escaped to the forest, and began rescuing relatives, friends, and complete strangers. Because of this compassion, over 1,200 Jews survived the Holocaust. Their story has been chronicled in Courage & Compassion: The Legacy of the Bielski Brothers, an original exhibition created by the Florida Holocaust Museum to coincide with the release of the feature film Defiance, directed by Ed Zwick.
This unique exhibit begins with an overview of the Bielski family and Jewish life in Belarus, and then recounts the brothers’ escape and the forming of the Bielski partisan detachment. The exhibition outlines the rescue of thousands of Jews from the surrounding area and ghettos, the story of the longest escape tunnel ever built, the group’s establishment of a small community in the forest, and their courageous acts of sabotage against the Nazis. The exhibit features text and graphic panels, personal artifacts from the Bielski partisans, and presentations of Survivor testimony.