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Holocaust Resistance: The Nováky Group

(August 1944)

In the Nováky forced labor camp in Slovakia, Zionist youths and Communists led the resistance movement. They smuggled weapons, carried out military exercises disguised as camp drills, and produced false "Aryan" papers.

On August 28, 1944, the Jewish fighters in Nováky launched a revolt, disarming the guards and taking over the camp. The newly freed prisoners then joined the Slovak National Uprising that aimed to overthrow the country's pro-Nazi government. The Nováky Group, made up of some 250 former prisoners of the camp, constituted the only exclusively Jewish unit in the uprising. They captured important military objectives and combated attacks from heavily armed German troops.

It is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 Jews actively took part in the Slovak National Uprising (August 29-October 27, 1944), during which 269 fell bravely in battle. After the war, 166 Jewish fighters received the Order of the Slovak National Uprising for their courage under fire.

Sources: USHMM