The Nazi's imposed a brutal racist regime, burning down Belarusian villages and sending hundreds of thousands to labor camps. Belarusian settlements were destroyed by the Nazis. Settlements were burned with their entire population and some or all their inhabitants killed. Almost the whole Jewish population of Belarus which did not initially evacuate was killed.
The surviving Bielski brothers became the leaders of a movement that started when they were forced to leave their home after their parents and family members were killed by Germans. Initially they wanted to only save only themselves but found themselves taking on others who successfully fled the Germans. Once they took on the responsibility of taking on refugees they demanded total obedience from those they took in. Their primary focus was to stay alive and save as many Jewish people they could and resist whenever possible.
The family of Jewish refugees quickly grew in a short amount of time and the Bielski brothers were finding it more difficult to hide in the forests. They also were finding out as they grew larger in the forest that they had more enemies to deal with than just the Nazi’s. The local police were out looking for Jewish civilians to turn in to the Germans. Also the local non Jewish peasants who once were friends and neighbors would pass intelligence on to the local police of the whereabouts of any Jewish members rather than help feed them.
They had to be constantly on the alert they even made alliances with Russian resistant fighters and Zusia join the resistance to show the Russians they were loyal to the Communist regime. Their...