Despite all of these internal and external factors contributing to a lack of Jewish resistance to the Holocaust, there was resistance in existence in many forms; the resistance that did occur must not be diminished or overlooked. When considering the definition of “resistance”, historians divide themselves on what this entails; some believe it to be only active, armed resistance attempts, while others define it more liberally. According to Yehuda Bauer, resistance entails “any group action consciously taken in opposition to known or surmised laws, actions, or intentions directed against the Jews by the Germans and their supporters.” Considering resistance with a broad definition such as this ensures that the efforts made at resistance are recognized, and avoids insulting or offending the Jews. It is also important to consider the fact that resistance evolved greatly throughout the Holocaust. In taking this more generous view on the issue, it becomes clear that there were actually a substantial number of incidences of resistance.
The less obvious, yet not necessarily less important, instances of Jewish resistance to the Holocaust were those that were non-violent and indirect in nature. These instances of non-armed resistance generally occurred before the executions began to increase rapidly. Some instances of non-violent resistance were symbolic in nature, and occurred before the Jews began to be removed to concentration camps. These were mostly public gestures, in which the Jews demonstrated that they were aware that their living situations were vastly different and prejudiced, and that they would not allow the Nazis to crush their spirits; this type of resistance was not an extremely dangerous form, but did sometimes run risk...
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129-145. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1992.
Hilberg, Raul. “Two Thousand Years of Jewish Appeasement.” In The Holocaust, edited by Donald L. Niewyk, 114-120. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1992.
Krakowski, Shmuel. “The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.” In The Holocaust, edited by Donald L. Niewyk, 145-159. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1992.
Marrus, Michael R. “Jewish Resistance.” In The Holocaust in History, 133-155. Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys Limited, 1987.
Marrus, Michael R. “Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust.” Journal of Contemporary History 30, no.1 (1995): 83-110. http://www.jstor.org/stable/260923.
Pingel, Falk. “Resistance and Resignation in Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camps.” Translated by J. Sondheimer. In The Policies of Genocide, edited by Gerhard Hirschfeld, 30-72. London: German Historical Institute, 1986.
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