Resisters, Rescuers, and Bystanders:
The "Jewish reaction patterns" to a threat have taken five forms:
armed resistance, alleviation, evasion, paralysis, and compliance.
During the Holocaust, all five were a response to various
incidents at various times. Jews, under duress, assisted the Nazi
terror by becoming Kapos or by serving on Judenrat. Many Jews did
not resist the "Final Solution," but many others did, and that
resistance took many forms. There were many examples of armed and
spiritual resistance in the death camps and ghettos which refute
the myth that all the Jews walked to the gas chambers "like sheep
to the slaughter." Though the majority of European peoples and
nations can be faulted with inactivity, and even at times
collaboration with the Nazis, there are many documented reports of
the efforts made by individual non-Jews and whole nations who took
great risks to save Jewish lives.
Historian Raoul Hilberg has stated that the "Jewish reaction
pattern" to a threat has taken five forms:
1. Armed Resistance: This includes violent, confrontational
challenges to persecution.
2. Alleviation: All those activities which are designed to avert
danger, or, in the event that force has already been used,
to diminish its effects. (Examples: petitions, protection
payments, and ransom arrangements).
3. Evasion: Jews have placed less hope, less expectation, less
reliance, upon the devices of evasion flight, concealment,
and hiding. The Jewish tendency has been not to run from,
but to survive with, anti-Jewish regimes. Jews have rarely
run from a pogrom. Jews have migrated chiefly for two
reasons: expulsion and economic depression.
4. Paralysis: This is the inability to respond at all. Paralysis
occurs when the obstacles to resistance, to alleviation
attempts, and to evasion are just as formidable as the
difficulties of cooperation.
5. Compliance: This is the acceptance of requirements of the
authority in order to avoid sanctions or penalties. To the
Jews, compliance with anti-Jewish laws or orders has always
been equivalent to survival.
History is replete with examples of Jews resisting domination by
other nations. The Bible details many of these examples. Jewish
rebellions to the Roman Empire occurred frequently.
During the Middle Ages, Jews resisted the persecutions against them
in Spain, France, Germany and Russia. They organized self-defense
units to fight off attacks of the Russian pogroms. The Jews of
Palestine fought along with the British forces in World War I.
Today, the Israeli army is perhaps the best-trained, most
disciplined, and most highly-successful military force in history,
for its size.
Source: The HolocaustA Guide for Teachers. Copyright 1990 by Gary M. Grobman. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form, or by any means, mechanical or electronic, or by any information storage and retrieval system or other method, for any use, without the written permission of Gary M. Grobman, except that use, copying, and distribution of the information in this electronic version of this book is permitted provided that no fees or compensation is charged for use, copies, or access to such information and the copyright notice is included intact.