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Economic, Political, and Social Factors Influencing Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust

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The atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis toward the Jews during the Holocaust are considered as one of the most sinister crimes against humanity. Under the direction of Adolf Hitler, the Nazis conducted a campaign of persecution that was attempted to quietly and efficiently to eradicate all Jewish people from the world. This genocide not only took Jewish lives but also destroyed their social, political, cultural, and economic framework. These horrendous acts by the Nazis were rarely met by resistance from their victims, who were almost exclusively civilian. Due to many factors, including the inability of the Jewish people to communicate and unify effectively, and the propaganda used by the Germans to intentionally manipulate Jewish awareness, there was never a unified Jewish resistance. Jewish resistance however occurred in isolated instances. Despite the isolation of this movement, there are similar underlying factors that were crucial in motivating Jewish resistance. This paper will focus on such trends which will be separated into three factors: political, social and economic influences on Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.

The social influence on the resistance movement can be looked at through the lens of how knowledge and information were transferred and perceived in both Jewish and gentile populations through social movement. And then how this perception affected Jewish responses to the Nazis. The political influence of the Nazi government especially through the use of propaganda and deception to control Jewish awareness and their political organization acted as a strong deterrent to the formation of Jewish resistance forces. As well, the Jewish political system

also played a major role in the establishment of a resistance. Finally the economic suppression by the Nazis limited the assets and opportunities that Jewish people could have used to support their resistance. This economic suppression, on the other hand, also acts as an element to motivate Jewish people to fight for their own equal right. In order to discuss more about these three factors, the personal memoir And we are not saved written by David Wdowinski will be used to explain more about the real experience of a Holocaust survivor in the Warsaw ghetto.

Cahnman (1957) discussed, in the historical perspective, the socio-economic factors that gave rise to Anti-semitism and eventually led to Jewish resistance. According to the article, gentiles passed down a stereotypical image of the Jews which was perpetuated through many generations. This stereotype which described the Jews as betrayers of Chris and evil creditors became a determining factor in how people came to view Jews as targets for hate, mistrust, and fear.

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