The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

If Jews scheduled for execution knew the fate in store for them, why did they go to their death without fight or protest?


35. If Jews scheduled for execution knew the fate in store for them, why did they go to their death without fight or protest?

The IHR says:

They didn't fight or protest simply because they knew there was no intention to kill them. They were simply interned and forced to work.

Nizkor replies:

Many did not know. However, some did, and revolted. The biggest revolt was in the Warsaw Ghetto, and it took the Germans a lot of fighting to subdue the rebellion; the whole Ghetto had to be destroyed in order to force the Jewish partisans out. There were also rebellions in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, and Sobibor (the last one was dramatized in a movie), but they were not terribly successful, except at Treblinka, where the camp was shut down partly due to the rebellion.

Holocaust-deniers often mock survivors by quoting one who says that the extermination process was a well-kept secret, and another who says that many people knew about it. There is no contradiction here, of course. At different times, and different places, different people knew different things.

To claim that if one Jew knew something, then every other Jew automatically knew it as well, is just an extension of the old antisemitic propaganda of Jews as world-conspirators.

The line "simply interned and forced to work" -- deleted in the revised version -- is eerily reminiscent of Hitler's quotation, "the Jews should be grateful that all I want from them is a little hard work."


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