the ghetto turned into turmoil. Some of the Jews think that Wittenberg should be turned in such that everyone else would be safe. They begged for the resistance organization’s ‘mercy’. The fellow Jews became ‘enemies’ of the resistance organization. If the resistance insisted on not turning in Wittenberg, they would have to fight against those Jews who wanted to turn Wittenberg in. At the end, Wittenberg turned himself in because he couldn’t fight against the fellow Jews. He would not harm any Jews before he harm any enemy. ● Their resistance group was conscious of many seemingly minor concerns in the ghetto such as identity, which they prevented detection of by using fake, or “underground,” names. Kovner
describes another concern when she says, “we looked for what every underground organization needs: help. But we hardly had any.” I think it is important to recognize that resistance groups could not operate on their own. Similar to the establishment of Nazi policies themselves, these groups also had to try to find others that they could trust and share their ideals – though with much greater difficulty. Similar to the concern of other Jews in the ghettos, resistance groups had to be careful of being fooled by those with higher positions. On this, Kovner speaks about the moment when the Chief of the ghetto police appeared to be having meaningless conversation with a few of the group’s members, when SS men appeared with weapons and they knew they had been tricked. Resistance groups had the threat of collective punishment on their hands because they knew they were going against law and could be caught. Being caught or refusing to hand over members of a resistance group, as was the case with Kovner, could result in the death or others or the destruction of the ghetto as a whole. While safety was a large concern for resistance groups, more so possibly was support. Resistance groups were fighting on behalf of the Jewish community, though they were still a minority. With this, resistance groups were concerned with disapproval of other Jews, despite their goals. Kovner speaks in detail about the exertion involved in keeping her commander in hiding against the wishes of the other Jews in the community. This resulted in the resistance group and other Jews having to fight against one another, rather than on the same team and for the same struggle. Even weapons were used in these altercations – some which were provided by Germans.Ultimately, when facing imminent Akton, resistance groups had to remain hidden for their own safety as well as the safety of the other Jews in the ghetto communities. Otherwise, their wrongdoings would have deadly consequences. ● Kovner does a great job expressing what is at stake when discussing how he uses the Aktion to try and rally support from fellow Jews. With this in mind, he mentions three different things that Jewish Resistance Groups, or at least his own, need or have to take care of to fight the Germans.
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- Summer '07
- The Holocaust