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Spiritual Resistance in Jewish Ghettos

  • Date Submitted: 06/06/2011 10:11 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.6 
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The Unconventional resistance

The establishment of the ghettos in spring 1940 is viewed by numerous scholars as the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. The Nazi regime sought to uproot the Jews from German life in accordance to racist principles and shut them behind the walls of the ghettos. Concurrently, Jews became the primary source of forced labour for the war economy. During this dark period in Jewish history, the oppressed sought to defend themselves, even at great risk, through different methods. While organized armed resistance was the most forceful form of Jewish opposition to Nazi policies, it was not the most successful. Jewish civilians offered armed resistance in over 100 ghettos in occupied Poland and the Soviet Union. However, the vastly superior German forces were almost always able to completely pacify the ghetto and deport virtually all of the remaining inhabitants to concentration camps. In contrast; it was the unarmed and spiritual resistance in the ghetto that proved to be the most successful against Nazi oppression.

The deprivations of living in the ghettos and under the constant fear of Nazi terror made resistance difficult and dangerous but not impossible. Acts of unarmed resistance in the ghettos predominated, as Jewish underground activists did not usually take the risk of armed resistance against overpowering military force until the final period before the destruction of the ghetto. Much of the underground work was concentrated mainly within prewar political parties and youth movements such as Hehalutz and its branches, Dror, Ha-Shomer, Akiva and Ha-Za’ir. A very important act of unarmed resistance by the political groups was the publishing of underground newspapers. These illegal newspapers and bulletins were meant to inform the Jewish ghetto population of events and uphold Jewish morale. To illustrate: Appeal Not To Go To Labour Camps was an article that appeared in the Ha-Za’ir publication Iton Ha-Tenuea...


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