Monday, April 30, 2007

Jewish resistance to the Nazis: Albert Einstein, etc

Albert Einstein Memorial
Originally uploaded by sneezypb.
Some Jews left Germany in the early 1930's. One example was scientist Albert Einstein.

From 1935 to 1938 Jews could leave only if they took nothing with them. They would forfeit their possessions, property, and cash, says World Book.

Neighboring nations closed their borders to Jewish migration. It's a sad fact that the US tightened its restrictions against Jewish immigration during the late 1930's and 1940s.

Why didn't Jews fight back against the Nazis?
a) Jews were accustomed to periodic persecution over their long history in Europe. Their survival strategy was to adopt a low profile and get through by bribery and accomodation.

b) Jews may have counted on escape routes that did not materialize.

c) Ordinarily Jewish wisdom was not to fight physically but to escape or use their imagination. In the case of the Warsaw ghetto ( the story is told in the recommendable movie Schindler's List) the Jews were prepared to fight the Nazis. But the Jews did not have a chance of victory.

How did people of conscience react to the advent of Hitler's Nazi Reich?

- Protest? Hitler brutally and effectively suppressed protest.
- Defiance? There was little defiance.
- Quiet cooperation while waiting for a better time? Yes.
From the movie Swing Kids: "You've got to go along; make the best of things."

Some Germans attempted to hide some of their Jewish neighbors from the Nazis. The Dutch friends of the Frank family in Amsterdam hid a group of Jews. The Frank group was discovered and betrayed by outsiders. All the family but Otto, the father, perished in death camps.

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