Social Studies Research Paper
10 November 2012
From early 1930s to middle 1940s, Jews in Germany, Poland, and other parts of Europe faced discrimination from Hitler and the Nazis. They were sent to ghettos and later concentration camps and extermination camps. In the ghettos, Jews had to live in small homes and consumed small amounts of food. In addition, disease and death were rampant. Living conditions were worse in the concentration camps. In contrast to common belief, not all Jews accepted such unreasonable and unequal treatments of the Nazis. Consequently, Jews resisted in various forms. Resistance by the Jews could be as simple as planning uprisings and escapes. They disguised themselves as Aryans (non-Jewish people). They organized secret schools and religious services, hid Jewish books, and wrote diaries about life and death. The effort to preserve their traditions was a kind of spiritual resistance. (Fidhkin 8) Resistance took forms without weapons. For many, attempting to carry on a semblance of “normal” life in the face of wretched conditions was resistance. David Altshuler writes in Hitler’s War against the Jews about life in the ghettos, which sustained Jewish culture in the midst of hopelessness and despair. (Grobman) Underground newspapers were printed and distributed at great risk to those who participated. Praying was against the rules, but synagogue services occurred with regularity. The education of Jewish children was forbidden, but the ghetto communities set up schools. The observance of many Jewish rituals, including dietary laws, was severely punished by the Nazis, and many Jews took great risks to resist the Nazi edicts against these activities. Committees were organized to meet the philanthropic, religious, educational, and cultural community needs. Many of these committees defied Nazi authority. (Grobman) The Jews did not care that these actions were against the rules. They felt they...