RANCHO SANTA FE — On Oct. 29, around 100 people gathered at Morgan Run to attend the special screening of “Defiance” starring Daniel Craig. The event was held by the Chabad Jewish Center of RSF and sponsored through the generosity of Edward Mirsky and Eric de Goldsmith-Rothschild of UBS. The special event featured Zvi Bielski, son of Zus Bielski, the hero whom the movie was based on.
The recent movie “Defiance” was based on a true story about the Bielski brothers, who, during the darkest hours of World War II, fled to the woods to escape the Nazis. The year was 1941 and Jews were being massacred by the thousands. The Bielski brothers decided to avenge the death of their loved ones by saving thousands of others. They built a secret village in the dense woods in Russia that they knew so well from their childhood. At first it was all they could do to stay alive, but gradually others dared to join them, willing to risk everything for a chance at freedom.
The oldest brother, Turia (played by Daniel Craig, best known for being the latest James Bond), was a reluctant leader who was at odds with his brother Zus (played by Liev Schrieber). Zus was the father of the screening’s special guest Zvi Bielski. Their youngest brother Asael (played by Jamie Bell, best known for “Billy Elliott”) was caught between his brothers’ fierce rivalry. As a brutal winter came upon them, they had to work together to keep the community and their faith alive.
There are many testimonies from survivors of the event available on the “Defiance” movie’s official Web site. The movie was directed by Ed Zwick, best known for directing “Blood Diamond” and “Glory” as well as creating the television series “Thirtysomething.” It became Zwick’s passion to tell the story of survival and hope.
It is believed that the Bielski brothers saved as many as 1,200 men, women and children from horrific fates that awaited countless Jews in the concentration camps.
According to Rabbi Levi Raskin, after hearing firsthand from Zvi Bielski, the audience left inspired by the actions of the Bieski brothers. “Hearing what three men accomplished in such harsh conditions, having saved 1,200 lives, gave the audience a real appreciation for our individual potential. As the Talmud states, ‘He who saves one life saves a world.’ Through simple acts of goodness and kindness and reaching out to our fellow we can accomplish worlds,” Raskin saud.
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