Holocaust resisters weren’t only those who carried weapons



NEW YORK (JTA) — In “Daring to Resist: Jewish Defiance in the Holocaust,” the catalog that accompanies the exhibit of the same name, the director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust here puts into print the question on everyone’s lips when the survivors were liberated.

“Context is everything,” David Marwell writes. “In trying to understand the study of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust, this dictum becomes especially critical. If the reader has any doubts, he or she need only think about the oft-repeated question, ‘Why did the Jews go like sheep to the slaughter?’ ”

Even now, 69 years after Kristallnacht and the beginning of the Holocaust, survivors are still putting to rest the accusations that they went like sheep to their fates. Some children, prompted by the attitudes of non-survivors in their milieu, even asked their survivor parents that question.

As Tom Segev’s “Seventh Million” made clear years ago, and a recent demonstration in the streets of Jerusalem underlined, to those without context Holocaust survivors are dismissed as bars of soap, “sabon.” Worse, many American Jews snidely wondered about the survivors, and some still do, “What did they do in order to survive?”