I went to see Defiance at the Dietrich's Film Festival last weekend. The story was based on true events that happened in Belorussia during WWII, where occupying Nazi forces stormed into towns and villages and killed Jewish residents by the hundreds. Many people fled into the surrounding forest, where they met others who were also fleeing.
Eventually, two brothers acted as leaders of this company of Jewish refugees. These men were not perfect leaders, not by a long shot, and they had their share of internal and external trials. They were constantly being hunted by Nazis, local Nazi sympathizers, and wild animals. They were cold, sick, short on food, and often out of hope. But, they kept the people in the forest until the end of the war, over two years, two years! building shelters, schools, and even a hospital of sorts. In all, 1200 people survived in this amazing group thanks to the efforts of these brothers.
The film's epilogue says that the brothers did not want their story told while they were alive and did not want credit for what they had done. Their wishes were respected, and now their children and grandchildren are telling the story.
It makes me wonder how many more stories like that are out there, stories of ordinary people behaving with honor in extraordinarily awful times. The story I'm writing is fiction. More amazing by far are true stories are about real people.