Resistance in Vilna
The FPO (Fareynegte Partizaner Organizatsye) or, United Partisans Organization, was one of the Jewish resistance movements in the Vilna Ghetto. In this piece, Labkovski's subject includes one of the leaders of the resistance movement, Abba Kovner, shown in the black coat and an FPO member, Vita Kempner (left of Kovner).
With the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto in 1943, the FPO encouraged physical resistance. In fact, many members of the FPO escaped from the ghetto and fought as partisans in the Rudnicki forests near Vilna. These resistance fighters became known as the "Avengers". They destroyed train tracks, bridges, and enemy train cars.
For more information: Resistance in the Vilna Ghetto.
This piece is the only one from the Holocaust where Labkovski depicts identifiable leaders. Why for resistance? What is he telling us? Notice the age of some of the subjects. What do you think about the youth of some of the resistance fighters?
Prior to finding the above piece on the Yad Vashem website, the David Labkovski Project was only aware of the painting on the left. Unsure as to the meaning behind it, we did not use it in exhibits or for educational purposes. Can you see the connection between the two pieces? Now, we know that David Labkovski wanted resistance to be part of the narrative he shared about the Holocaust. We unfortunately do not know who the two subjects are in the piece on the left. But, notice the red shawl that repeats in many of the pieces in the collection of Holocaust art.