German Soldiers In The Vilna Ghetto

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On June 24, 1941, two days after German troops invaded the Soviet Union, they occupied Vilna, Lithuania, beginning their assault on the Jewish population. When German troops took control over Vilna, many of the local Jews were forced into ghettos. Once in the ghetto, Jews were forced to work in factories, mending the uniforms of Nazi officers, or on construction sites outside of the ghetto. On September 6, 1941 German troops entered the Vilna ghetto. For two and a half months Nazi soldiers occupied the ghetto. Nazi soldiers also set up within the Vilna Ghetto the Jewish Council of Vilna. During World War II, Germans were setting up Jewish councils, also referred to as Jewish Municipal Administrations, to ensure that Nazi orders and regulations …show more content…
In periodic killing operations, like this one, most of the ghetto 's inhabitants are massacred at Ponary. Nazi soldiers use empty pits as a way to dispose of the unwanted bodies of thousands of Vilna’s Jews. Once mass killings begin, the only meaningful improvement to be won is the suspension of these mass killings and deportations. Some administrators, like Gens, sensed the German’s intentions and thought the goal could be achieved by demonstrating their communities’ productive capacities. In Ghetto, the main source of productivity in the Vilna ghetto is factory workers mending the uniforms of Nazi and Lithuanian soldiers. “This hall is thirty metres by twenty-five. Almost a thousand metres square. You need two square metres for each sewing machine. As a theatre it can save only forty families. You can put five hundred sewing machines in …show more content…
He is convinced that the choice he makes to use the theatre as an additional factory area, expanding his population of workers by five hundred, will indeed save more lives than just adding more sewing machines to the already cramped factory. Weiskopf, the owner of this factory operation, begs Gens not to make room for five hundred more Jews to work. It is left for the audience to figure out that Weiskopf has a bad feeling about bringing more Jews to the ghetto to work. Since the Nazis’ murder plan is ultimately driven by ideology and not rationale, Gens’ choice will most likely only delay mass killings, ultimately resulting in even more deaths than if he had listened to Weiskopf, selecting fewer newly hired Jews. Gens choice of bringing more Jews to the ghetto, was meant to induce Jews to accept the bitter conditions in the ghetto, convincing them that the Germans did not intend to kill them all, that deportations were meant merely to satisfy capricious cruelty, and that deportees were not necessarily murdered. The Vilna ghetto also has a very active and significant resistance movement. The resistance was a group of Jews that operated underground, hiding weapons and preparing to fight Nazi officers. Members of the resistance were not happy with the many deaths taking place within the ghetto and formed this group as a way to retaliate

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