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Resistance In The Holocaust
by Clinton and James Patterson

Partisans from the Kovno Ghetto in the Rudniki Forest of Lithuania.

        It all started because of Germanyís defeat in World War I. The allies forced the Germans to pay unfair war damages. Inflation made money almost worthless. People became desperate. Adolf Hitler gained favor with the German people by telling them of a glorified image of Germany and he gave them an excuse for loosing the war. He told them that the Jews stabbed Germany in the back. He said they were genetically inferior, and that they were the all-time enemy of the German people. Not everyone agreed with Hitlerís outrageous ideas, but many hoped he would solve Germanyís financial problems, and return them to their former glory.
        The Holocaust took place in World War II. It was an effort by Adolph Hitler to utterly destroy the Jewish people. Six million Jews were killed in World War II, half of that six million were children and teenagers. If you had a distantly related Jewish family member, you were considered a Jew, and therefore you must be killed. This report is about resistance in the Holocaust. Itís about who resisted, and how some made it out alive.


Members of the Bielski Atriad at the family camp
in Naliboki Forest in Byelorussia

       The Holocaust is not very pleasant to talk about. The Nazis put the Jews in concentration camps and ghettos, and killed them in cruel ways. They led them to believe that they would be all right; they gave false hope to them right up to their deaths, which was either in the gas chamber or by the firing squad. The gas chambers were disguised as shower rooms, so that people would think all they were getting a shower. Even though the Nazis and their calibrators killed millions, nonetheless, some people did resist. They resisted in three different ways, armed, unarmed, and spiritual. Armed resistance was fighting the Nazis with weapons. Spiritual resistance was not letting the Nazis break you and your religious beliefs.
       Resistance occurred wherever Nazis imposed their rule. In cities, ghettoes, and camps, people risked all they had to resist. Not all the people who resisted were Jewish, some were French, Polish, British, American, Soviet, and even a handful of Germans. Resistors sabotaged supply trains, planned escapes for Jews, and gave other resistors supplies. Resistance fighters were called Partisans. They fought together against Nazi oppression.


A train that was sabotaged by French resistance fighters.

        Some of the resisters were teenagers. One group, called the White Rose, was from the University of Munich, they secretly published, and distributed leaflets denouncing the Nazis, and recommended that Germans sabotage Nazi plans. They were the only organized group of Germans who resisted the Nazis.
        Many Jews were put into ghettos. Ghettos were sections of a city that was walled and sealed up. Jews could not escape and usually died of disease, starvation, and shootings by the Germans. Most resistance in the ghettos was unarmed resistance because weapons were hard to come by.


Resistance fighters in ghetto revolt

        For example, in September of 1942, by the time the first wave of deportations and deaths in the Warsaw Ghetto had stopped, hundreds and thousands of Jews were already dead, and only 60,000 remained in ghetto. Underground groups such as ZOB thought the end was near. They collected as many weapons as they could. Weapons were expensive and were often bought from members of the Polish underground. Sometimes weapons were stolen. When a second wave of deportation came and the Nazis rounded up some 5,000 Jews, the remaining Jewish resisters started throwing homemade bombs. The Germans made a strong response and many Jews were killed because they hadnít enough weapons to fight with.


Vladka Meed

        One person in the resistance was Vladka Meed, she convinced non-Jews that she was not Jewish. Using false identification papers she smuggled weapons across the Warsaw Ghetto walls. She also smuggled people out of the ghetto and found places for them to hide.


Vladka Meedís false identification papers

        Another example of Jewish resistance was a teenager named Rosa Robota. She arrived at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in 1944. She helped plan a revolt in the camp. Rosa had the woman who worked in the munitions factory carry explosive powder out of the factory by scraping it under their fingernails. They gave the powder to a Russian prisoner named Borodin to construct a bomb. The Germans found out about their plans. The people got scared and set off the bombs that were hidden in the crematoriums. One of the crematoriums was blown up, during the commotion six hundred people escaped, but all were recaptured or killed. Rosa and three other young women were publicly hanged.


Roza Roberta.

          Frank Blakhmen was sixteen years old during World War II. He came from Kamlanka, Poland. He escaped before the Germans took the Jews into camps. He and twelve Jewish men dressed as Polish officers and got weapons from a farmer named Lemenchek. They got a total of six guns . They captured calibrators and used the information they got to blow up railroads and bridges to disrupt the German lines of communication.


Frank Blakhmen

        After the war, for most Jews who had been liberated from the death camps, it was difficult for them to talk about their experiences. In fact, most Jews would not speak out until years later. Most could not understand how there could be a God, when he allowed so many to be killed. When asked if she thought the Holocaust could happen again, Leah Harmerstein responded, "Yes, itís possible. You see, Nazism killed not only people, it killed moral principles. Before you can kill people, you first have to kill moral principles. Then itís possible."


This whole report was based upon this book
SOURCES:

Anflick, Charles. Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny . New York: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 1999.

PICTURE CREDIT:

Picture #1 - "Partisans from the Kovno Ghetto in the Rudniki Forest of Lithuania" from: Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny

Picture #2 - "Members of the Bielski Atriad at the family camp in Naliboki Forest in Byelorussia" from: Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny

Picture #3 - "A train that was sabotaged by French resistance fighters" from: Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny

Picture #4 - "Resistance fighters in ghetto revolt" from: Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny

Picture #5 - "Vladka Meed" from: Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny

Picture #6 - "Vladka Meedís false identification papers" from: Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny

Picture #7 - "Roza Roberta" from: Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny

Picture #8 - "Frank Blakhmen" from: Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny

Picture #9 - "Book Cover" from: Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resistors Who Fought Nazi Tyranny


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