Sei sulla pagina 1di 4

Andrew Peters

Mr. Hawkins
Modern World History-P, Period 4
8 April 2016
Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust
One of the greatest horrors of the holocaust was its unexpected nature. Most Jews knew
they would be forced to work, they knew they would be put in ghettos, but they didnt know they
would be killed until it was too late. This is why there was little resistance to the Nazi regime.
However, there was a lot of resistance to Nazi rule near the end of the war, because by then the
Jews knew they were being sent to death camps. The three ways the Jews rebelled were by the
Warsaw rebellion, rebellion in concentration camps, and by escape.
An obvious type of Jewish resistance was their rebellion at Warsaw. In April-May
1943, Jews in the Warsaw ghetto rose in armed revolt after rumors that the Germans
would deport the remaining ghetto inhabitants to the Treblinka killing center(Document
1) This caused a revolt that took months longer to put down than expected. However, it did a
pittance, if any real damage to the Nazi army, and only resulted in the Jews eventual deaths.
By 1943, the ghetto residents had organized an army of about 1,000 fighters, mostly
unarmed By that time, the half-million original inhabitants had been depleted to about
60,000 as a result of starvation, disease, cold, and deportation.(Document 3) This shows
how successful the holocaust was before the Jewish population had a clue what was going on. It
severely limited their manpower, and that combined with the facts that they were unequipped and

starving left little in the way of the Reichs power. The ghetto was reduced to rubble
Fifteen thousand Jews died in the battle, and..the survivors were shipped to the death
camps300 Germans were killed.(Document 3) This shows the pitiful and inconsequential
nature of even the Jews largest, most violent revolt. At the end, they only succeeded in delaying
a minute number of soldiers and killing a number more minute still after the majority of the Jews
had already been executed. Although open rebellion, such as the Warsaw rebellion, was
spectacular, it was too little too late, and only proved to be an annoyance.
Another place the Jews resisted the Nazis was in concentration camps. There were
uprisings in the killing centers of Treblinka, Sobibor, and Auschwitz during 1943-1944.
(Document 2) However, these uprisings were always unsuccessful, futile gestures by people
who knew they would die anyway. Worse, by this time, those who had survived that far had a
chance of being freed by allied powers, and destroyed that chance. If a Nazi soldier was
murdered by a Jew, not only was that Jew executed, but also his family and perhaps a
hundred others. As a result, few Jews carried out active resistance from fear of reprisals.
(Document 1) This made the Jews in concentration camps particularly hesitant to rebel, as the
Nazis had no qualms about killing massive numbers of Jews, and although the Jews may not
have known this, they would all be killed anyway. This also applies to why they went willingly
most of the time, as they feared repercussions beyond their own deaths. A more subtle way of
resisting the Reich was sabotage. Material for the German war effort, for example, might be
mysteriously defective, the result of intentionally shoddy workmanship by Jewish slave
labor.(Document 3) Although this would seem an effective resistance strategy, being caught
meant certain death, and Germans did not usually rely on products made by concentration camps.

Although Jews attempted to rebel against their captors in concentration camps, by that time any
resistance was futile.
Escape was a more appealing and practical option for most Jews. Thousands of young
Jews resisted by escaping from the ghettos into the forests. There they joined Soviet
partisan units or formed separate partisan units to harass the German occupiers.
(Document 1) This proved a more effective way to survive, as their communities could hold
out until the wars end. However, it was still risky, as they would be shot on sight, and lacked
training, weaponry, and supplies. Family camps were established in which Jewish civilians
repaired weapons, made clothing, cooked for the fighters, and assisted Soviet partisan
operations. As many as 10,000 Jews survived the war by taking refuge with Jewish partisan
units.(Document 2) This provided a direction in which to run, as most Germans were hostile
towards Jews or fearful they would be caught. It also added yet more workers to a soviet army
that held its main advantage over the Nazis through sheer quantity. Some Jews escaped death
by hiding in the attics and cellars and closets of non-Jews.(Document 3) However, this was
unlikely, due to the racial divide between Jews and Germans, and the severe risk of being
discovered and killed, but many Jews escaped this way. This was more likely to occur in
countries besides Germany which had less of a racial divide. Simply running away was the safest
and most effective method of Jewish escape, but did nothing whatsoever to stop the Nazis, and
relied upon Germany losing the war quickly.
Jewish resistance was mainly a futile gesture that came too late and did too little. It saved
thousands of Jewish lives, but millions more were lost. The impact of Jewish resistance was
insignificant, as those who resisted were brave, but ultimately failed to prevent the holocaust.
The most effective form of resistance was to hide and wait until the war was over.