Holocaust Resistance Movements

By Christopher Gooch

Jewish Resistance

Jews were the primary victims of Nazi persecution, they often resisted Nazi oppression in a number of ways.

Armed resistance was a more violent form of resistance movements brought by Jews being persecuted at the time of the Holocaust. Armed resistance from the Warsaw ghetto is an example; German troops were surprised by the ferocity of the uprising, but they were able to calm it down within a few days. Although, it took months to completely pacify the entire ghetto.

Other Forms of Resistance

There were other ways Jews resisted persecution from the Nazis.

One way is that they would escape Jewish ghettos and into the forests. There they joined Soviet partisan units-or their own unit-to harass Nazi occupiers.

Another form of resistance would be, for example, a Jewish council chairman named Moshe Jaffe, who refused to hand over Jews to the Nazis for deportation.

The Warsaw Ghetto

Before the ghetto was established, Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was 30% Jewish. When Nazis established the ghetto, all of those Jews were forced into the ghetto, which only covered about 2% of the entire city's surface area. The Nazis also transported masses of Jewish refugees that brought the ghetto population up to 450,000 Jews. The living conditions were unbearable: People would often go hungry or catch diseases. This obviously led to the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
The following video will add more details to the event of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
To Live with Honor and Die with Honor: The Story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (Long)

Impact of Resistance

Jewish resistance had a major impact on the Holocaust. Armed resistance from these innocent people showed that they would not go down quietly-they would not die without raising a little chaos against the Nazis. This could have possibly saved many lives of Jews, providing many with the chance to escape the ghettos or camps.

“The question is not why all Jews did not fight, but how many of them did.

Tormented, beaten, starved, where did they find the strength—spiritual and

physical—to resist?”

-Elie Wiesel