As the Second World War and the Nazi assault on Europe ended, some 25,000 Jews, entire families in some instances, walked out of the forests of Eastern Europe. For three years, these men, women and children had miraculously survived eluding Nazi hunts and Soviet, Polish, and Ukrainian partisans who often killed first and asked questions later. They had escaped from the Nazi ghettos and slave labor camps and formed secret partisan camps in the surrounding forests. The forest not only protected them, it also became their base for sabotage and resistance efforts against the Germans and their allies. Based on numerous interviews with the survivors themselves, Fugitives of the Forest tells the harrowing and heroic story of those who resisted amid such perilous conditions. Among them:The remarkable story of Tuvia Bielski and his rescue of more than 1,200 Jews from a certain death (subject of the major motion picture DEFIANCE, to be released December 2008) The tragic resistance struggle of Dr. Yeheskel Atlas The bravery and resourcefulness of Misha GildenmanThe tale of the Vilna GhettoMany of us will ask the troubling question: why did not more Jews resist?
But the question should be: how, under the circumstances, was any resistance possible at all?
Allan Levine (born 1956) is a Canadian author from Winnipeg, Manitoba, known mainly for his award-winning nonfiction and historical mystery writing. As of 2004, Levine teaches history at St. John's-Ravenscourt School in Winnipeg, and is married with two children. He is the author of five books of nonfiction and three books of fiction.