Why did many victims of the Holocaust not resist?
There are many reasons:
Jews were generally well mannered, law abiding citizens.
The first and foremost being that unlike some events in history,
there is not one defining moment that what was happening, or going
to happen, really became clear. Over the course of many years,
small steps were taken, and each one involved deceit. Many under
the guise of doing things good for the Jewish society/people.
After being socially outcast, demorialized and literally beaten
upon, in all ways, over the course of several years, while the Nazi
regeme itself was gaining more and more power itself and over
others, they were a rather downtrodden group. So when the
government says, prepare to be relocated, for your own safety (so
we can protect you from those buring your houses down for example),
you may tend to believe it. At least want to. The relocation
centers were extermination camps...but they weren't called
that...sometimes because of how hard it is to deal with, they still
Any resisitance at any point was met with severe action -
certain death - public ridicule and execution - for the one doing
it...and most likely his family and friends. And maybe just for
good measure...any instance of it required say 50 others to be
executed openly as punishment for the group...that has the effect
of not just dispelling people trying...but even making some turn
them in out of fear.
And consider the US experience similar: The Balck activists gave
the while bigots even more of a reason to hate...fear of theose
lawless acts...buring of cities, etc. To them it just proved that
the people were "animals". The great Martin Luther King (like
Ghandi), showed a non violent approach helped disable the
adversaries arguments. (However, the Jews were dealing with Nazi's
at their height of power and had no MLK stepping up).
Remember, were talking about resisting...that is organizig and
fighting...the well armed and trained Nazi powers in their already
well occupied and controlled lands...something that would seem
futile, even impossible...even when tried by well trained and
supplied military forces - some even defending their own homelands
with the support of everyone and thing there...was generally
Just like people today try and make sense of this nonsencial
situation....and compassionate people cannot come to terms with
what happened....while it was happening...while the unbelievable
was happening...it was yet harder to understand. People simply did
not know - nor could they possibly be expected to believe - what
lay ahead - even for themselves. The government hid (and denied any
inference of) it's actions...
Once people are starved, and gone through years of hardship,
their will to fight is broken...the promise of a potato in the
"soup" that evening is enough to get submission...it takes energy
Answer 2 ?
I want to congratulate the author of what is above, which
explains in detail the process used by the Nazis to submit human
There was a time when some Jewish (Ben Gurion) claimed that the
victims of the Shoah "deserved" their faith for not having
resisted. The idea had its popularity among the Jews in the years
of creation of Israel.
I feel annoyed by that question, by implying they could have a
responsability, it can sound like a denial of the fact that the
people who died in the death camps were the victims.
An answer could be another question : What would you do if men
with guns threaten your life and your families' ?
To resist is easier to say than to do. Especially for a Jew in
Europe in the 40's. Some had resisted in Eastern Europe (Warsaw
Ghetto, in Czecoslovicia, in Hungary ...), but those resistances
were wipped up.