Forgotten Voices: Barbara Stimler, pg. 253; Zdenka Ehrlich, pg. 253
Forgotten Voices: Michael Etkind, pg. 258; Stanley Faull, pg. 259
Resistance And Death Marches
Resistance and Death Marches Lisa Pennington Social Studies Instructional Specialist Portsmouth Public Schools
Resistance <ul><li>There are recorded instances of resistance, defiance, and revolt among the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Resistance occurred in several different ways, and was punishable by death. </li></ul>
Resistance <ul><li>Defiant actions were not limited just to the camps. Resistance began in the ghettos. Parents would still educate their children, even though it was illegal. People would still gather for religious services, even though they too had been outlawed. </li></ul>http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ghettos/images/Kovno%20ghetto%20school.jpg
Resistance <ul><li>One form of resistance was to escape and go into hiding. The Bielski brothers formed a camp in the Naliboki forest and hid 1,200 Jewish people that had escaped from the ghettos. They successfully hid from the Germans for several years, although they were on constant watch and had to deal with the harsh winters. </li></ul>http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/revolt/images/bielski.jpg Bielski resistance fighters.
Resistance <ul><li>People did escape from concentration camps, although when this happened those that remained were severely punished and forced to stand outside (as if for roll call) for hours if anyone was ever missing. </li></ul>
Resistance <ul><li>Smuggling food into the ghettos was also a form of resistance. Forging official documents to save lives was another. </li></ul>http://www.chgs.umn.edu/museum/exhibitions/rescuers/documents.html This forged ID does not have a “J” on it, which would indicate the holder was Jewish.
Resistance <ul><li>The most direct form of resistance was armed revolts. They occurred in several ghettos, with the largest one occurring in the Warsaw Ghetto in April of 1943. The Germans were able to suppress the major fighting in the Warsaw Ghetto within a few days, but it took a month before all of the fighters were suppressed and the remaining inhabitants deported. </li></ul>
Resistance <ul><li>The main synagogue in the Warsaw Ghetto was blown up. Fighters barricaded themselves in buildings, and the Germans began to systematically destroy the ghetto. </li></ul>http://www.ushmm.org/lcmedia/photo/lc/image/34/34089a.jpg Ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto, after the uprising.
Resistance <ul><li>There were uprisings in other ghettos, including Vilna and Bialystok. Fighters knew they could not defeat the Germans, but fought for Jewish honor and to try to avenge the death of so many Jews. </li></ul>
Resistance <ul><li>There were revolts at three extermination camps. </li></ul><ul><li>At Treblinka in August of 1943 and Sobibor in October of 1943, Jewish prisoners attacked the guards with stolen weapons. Most of the rebels were killed, but a few managed to escape and survive the war. </li></ul>
Resistance <ul><li>In October of 1944 at Auschwitz Birkenau, the Jewish Sonderkommando (Jewish prisoners who worked in the crematoria) revolted against the guards. 250 Jews died during the fighting, and SS guards shot another 200 after the revolt was over. A few days later, 5 women were identified as suppliers of explosives and killed. </li></ul>Crematoria ruins at Birkenau.
Resistance <ul><li>There were non-Jews who also aided in resistance, taking huge risks to hide or rescue Jewish people. The punishment for hiding Jews was death. </li></ul>
Resistance <ul><li>Resistance activities ranged from the small (such as smuggling food) to large, organized, armed revolts. These activities were ways not only to survive, but to show their oppressors that the Jews would not stand for the extermination of their people. While not all Jews took part in resistance activities, those that did fought on behalf of all Jews. </li></ul>
Death Marches <ul><li>As the war was coming to a close, it became clear to the Germans that they would lose to the Allies. With Allied troops moving in from the West and the Soviet troops from the East, the Germans tried to move the Holocaust survivors from the concentration camps to the center of Germany. </li></ul>http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-C-WWII/maps/USA-WWII-1.jpg
Death Marches <ul><li>The Germans had three reasons for moving the survivors: </li></ul><ul><li>The SS did not want the survivors to relay stories of what happened to them to Allied troops. </li></ul><ul><li>The SS thought they still needed prisoners to provide manual labor. </li></ul><ul><li>Some SS leaders thought they could use survivors as bargaining chips to ensure the survival of the Nazi regime. </li></ul>
Death Marches <ul><li>At first, evacuations were carried out by train or boat. But as the Allies reached the borders of Germany, more and more prisoners were evacuated on foot. </li></ul>
Death Marches <ul><li>Prisoners had no supplies, and no winter clothing. Many froze to death overnight when they were forced to stop in open fields. Exhaustion and diseases such as typhus killed many others. Most prisoners were frostbitten. </li></ul>http://www.ushmm.org/lcmedia/photo/wlc/image/48/48292.jpg
Death Marches <ul><li>Any prisoner who could not keep pace with the march or lagged behind was shot, as was anyone caught trying to escape. Of the 66,000 prisoners evacuated from Auschwitz, 15,000 died on the march to Germany. </li></ul>
Death Marches <ul><li>Prisoners were marched almost to the last day of the war. During the last two months before Germany surrendered, 250,000 prisoners were moved. As the Allies moved in, they liberated concentration camps, as well as those on the forced marches. </li></ul>
Death Marches <ul><li>For those that survived, the arrival of Allied troops meant the end of mistreatment at the hands of the Germans. However, they faced a long road to readjustment in everyday life. </li></ul>