Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Christine Evans

Committee Members

Neal Pease, Lisa Silverman


Bielski, Commemoration, Gender, Jewish, Partisans, Soviet Union


Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, thousands of Red Army soldiers, peasants, and Jewish men, women, and children escaped imprisonment and certain death by fleeing into the vast forests of Belorussia. Using oral histories, archival websites, and survivor testimony, this thesis explores the Soviet partisan units and the Jewish partisan units and family camps that were organized in the forests and raises questions including: How do the experiences of Jewish women in the partisans compare with Jewish women who fought in the Red Army? How are the Jewish partisans remembered around the world today? What postwar political objectives helped to shape the contemporary commemoration of Jewish partisans? Although historical narratives may lack absolute certainty in some cases, the testimony of Jewish partisans and soldiers reveals experiences that allow for a more complete understanding of the Second World War in the Soviet Union and expose the ways in which political power can impact social memory.