We must first realize that resistance was in no way a survival strategy. Yet, even when it seemed obvious that death was near inevitable, why did they not put up a fight? This argument is still puzzling to many holocaust historians, yet the arguments of Raul Hilberg and Yehuda Bauer offer insight to possible reasons why they did not fight and that resistance was more widespread than most people think.
First of all we will look at Raul Hilberg’s “Two Thousand Years of Jewish Appeasement,” to give us possible reasons why Jews simply willing followed orders to their death. We must see the destruction in a way that has two role-players: the perpetrators and the
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A fifth option, which was automatic compliance, seemed to be what the Jews used the most. 2000 years of appeasement had helped them endure “the Crusades, The Cossack uprisings, and the czarists persecution. There were many casualties in these times of stress, but always the Jewish community emerged once again like a rock from a receding tidal wave.” Although many times people were told that millions of Jews were being killed in death camps, it seemed impossible that they were trying to exterminate Jewry completely from Europe. This helped in compliance in two ways. First of all, the German forces forced them to get documents of identification, submit lists of people, hand over property, and many other things that required the complete compliance of the Jews in order to work. The second is institutional compliance. Jewish councils were the head of the ghettos. They were given orders from top Nazi officials and passed them to the Jewish community. They had power of persuasion of the Jewish community because they had close ties to the community. They were Jewish leaders that the majority of the time was doing all they could to look after the interests of the people. The Germans used this against them to accomplish their goals more easily than they could have by using brute force.
Next we will discuss Rehuda Bauers’ piece that suggest that Jewish resistance was more widespread than most