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Jewish Resistance. What would be an obstacle to resistance?. German power Lack of weapons Collective responsibility lack of supplies. Superior armed power of the Germans. Superior armed power of Germans posed a threat to resistance to mostly unarmed Jewish civilians - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Jewish Resistance

  • What would be an obstacle to resistance?German powerLack of weaponsCollective responsibilitylack of supplies

  • Superior armed power of the GermansSuperior armed power of Germans posed a threat to resistance to mostly unarmed Jewish civiliansRemember how quickly Poland and France fell to German power; (Poland-a few weeks, and France-6 weeks)If two powerful nations could fall so easily; unarmed Jewish citizens would be no match for the Germans

  • German tactic of collective responsibilityEntire families and communities were held responsible for acts of an individualIn Lithuania the entire population of the ghetto was killed after 2 young boys ran away and refused to returnIn Poland 120 Jews were killed because 1 German policeman had been killed; the entire ghetto would have been killed if the perpetrator would not have come forward

  • German tactic of collective responsibilityOne of the most notorious acts of retaliation was in BohemiaCzech resistance fighters assassinated Reinhard HeydrichIn retaliation, Nazis liquidated the entire population of the village of Lidice (about 700 people); whose citizens were not involved in the assassinationOlder men and boys were shot, women and children were sent to concentration camps, village leveled to the ground

  • Isolation of Jews and lack of WeaponsEven if individuals had strength and opportunity to resist, they faced difficulty in finding hiding places, food, and population willing to assist on the outsideJews didnt blend well into non-Jewish communities because of language differences, religious customs, and physical appearances

  • Isolation of Jews and lack of WeaponsIn many occupied areas, the local population was hostile or indifferent of the Jews fateLocal populations were also suffering under German occupationFood rationingSubject to German terror; roundups for camps, murder and forced laborCivilians who helped, did at the threat of death

  • Secrecy and deceptions of deportationsThe speed, secrecy, and deception used to carry out the deportations and killings were done in order to impede resistanceAs they were rounded up for mass killings or deportations they had no idea of where they were goingVictims were ordered to pack some of their belongings to mask that they would never return; indicated possible resettling

  • Secrecy and deceptions of deportationsMany of the first wave of deportation to Auschwitz were forced to send postcards to family stating, Arrived safely. I am well..

  • Resistance in the GhettosBetween 1939 and 1943, Germans forced millions of Jews into ghettosIn ghettos, Jews were isolated from the outside and separated from Jews in other ghettosSome ghettos were tightly sealed with no one allowed in or out as in Lodz; others like Warsaw, allowed movement through holes in the walls and underground sewers

  • Resistance in the GhettosIn ghettos that were not tightly sealed, goods, like weapons, began to be smuggled inStarvation, exposure, and disease killed tens of thousands of people in the ghettos; these struggles drained the will to resist of those that survivedBecause of the exhausting work and malnutrition many Jews died

  • Resistance in the GhettosDiverse population in ghettos kept many of them from uniting in resistance against the NazisGhetto residents were forced to compete for a small number of forced labor jobs in manufacturing workshops or factories, which offered temporary reprieve from deportation

  • Unarmed Resistance in the GhettosActs of unarmed resistance predominated They usually didnt take the risk of armed resistance until the last days before the destruction of the ghettosGhetto groups needed time to organize and smuggle weapons into the ghetto

  • Unarmed Resistance in the GhettosNewspapers and RadiosIllegal newspapers were published to inform people of events and keep up moraleTheir news was gathered from illegal radios In cases in which they were caught with the radios, they were executed

  • Unarmed Resistance in the GhettosActs of SabotageJews working as forced laborers would organize acts of sabotageStealing vital documentsTampering with machineryProducing faulty munitionsSlow production on assembly linesStealing parts for Black marketSetting fire to factories

  • Unarmed Resistance in the GhettosUnderground CouriersIn Poland and the Soviet Union, young couriers were often members of a communication networkCarrying illegal documents, underground newspapers and moneyBought and smuggled arms into the ghetto, ran illegal presses and arranged escapes

  • Unarmed Resistance in the GhettosUnderground CouriersWomen were vital in the role as couriers, they could move more freely than war age men without arising suspicionThey were also less distinguishable than menAll couriers took on enormous risks; they were always looking for victims and prize rewards; if caught they faced certain death

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosArmed resistance was an act of desperation once they saw all the Jews would be killedCouriers would verify that the mass deportations turned into mass killingsMost knew there was a slim chance to succeed, but vowed to die fighting rather than in mass executions in gassing or shootingFighting back was in a way upholding Jewish honor and avenging deaths of loved ones

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosVilna Ghetto Fighters1st Jewish fighting organization; called United Partisan Organization (FPO was the acronym for the name in Yiddish)Mass killings in had wiped out the majority of the population in VilnaJanuary 1, 1942, 23 year old, Abba Kovner, spoke at an informal meeting in the kitchen of the ghetto and tried to dispel the little bit of hope they were holding on to (of surviving in the ghetto)

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosVilna Ghetto FightersThey had little chance against the superior German forces, but chose to die honorably as free fightersJuly 5, 1943, the communist commander of the FPO was arrested, his fellow members rescued himHe gave himself up the next day after Nazi forces threatened to wipe out the ghetto if he did not surrender, but committed suicide in his prison cellBefore his death, he named Kovner as FPO commander in his place

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosVilna Ghetto FightersIn August and September 1942, German forces began to liquidate Vilna, the Vilna FPO issued a manifesto imploring the remaining 14,000 to resist deportationBut the majority of the people in Vilna didnt heed the warning of the FPO, they held out hope that they would just be sent to work campsThe leader of the Judenrat in Vilna opposed storing arms thinking that if they didnt resist they would survive through working; resistance would cause everyone to be killed (collective responsibility)

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosVilna Ghetto FightersSeptember 23-24, the Nazis began to liquidate the ghettoA few hundred members of the FPO escaped to join other partisan groups in the Rudniki and Naroch forests

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosFighting organizations in other ghettosto gather support for fighting organizations several hurdles had to be overcome, political divisions and disagreement about tactics were just a few hurdlesPlaces near forests, activists debated whether to hide in the forest or make a final stand with the people remaining in the ghetto

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosIn the larger ghettos, resistance fighters usually could not count on Jewish councils or general ghetto populationGeneral population generally followed the councils lead or remained inactive due to lack of aggressive leadershipAs in Vilna, the Jewish council had mixed feelings about supporting the resistance movement because they hoped to survive through work and took resistance to be suicidal

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosIn Warsaw the Jewish council leader did not assist in the resistance and was criticized by Jewish undergroundHe later committed suicide to avoid bearing responsibility for handing Jews over to Germans for deportation

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosIn other ghettos such as Minsk and Kovno the Jewish council leaders cooperated with the resistancePossibly because of their location close to mass killing sites; they may have understood the intentions to annihilate the Jewish raceOther possible reasons could include the greater possibility of escape through the forests and support of Soviet partisans

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosTo further handicap resistance, they had trouble obtaining weaponsCouriers had to steal or purchase weapons and then sneak them into the ghetto in pieces and in small quantitiesFighters from Vilna stole weapons from a German arsenal or purchased arms from sympathetic farmersIn Warsaw, most weapons were purchased from polish underground, but the prices were high, quantities limited, and the quality poor

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosLocation of revoltsMost Jewish resistance took place in German occupied eastern Poland, Lithuania, and BelorussiaAltogether, at least 60 ghettos had attempted revolts, mass escapes, or the formation of armed underground movementsAlthough no rebellion took place in Kovno, the ghetto had a large resistance organization composed of Zionist youth groups and CommunistsSome 350 Jews from Kovno were able to join up with the Lithuanian Communist resistance in the forests

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosThe most successful organized resistance was the underground in Minsk, which helped an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 persons flee to the dense forests. Several thousand survived until the end of the war

  • Armed Resistance in the GhettosIn many smaller ghettos in German-occupied eastern Poland a