There are many definitions of “resistance” to the Holocaust. Was physical resistance always “moral” and “rational?” The relatively rare instances of physical resistance to the Nazis are universally acclaimed. However, in the ghettos of Eastern Europe they were much debated. Such resistance was morally ambiguous and may not have been “rational” because it provoked massive reprisals. As there was no chance to defeat the Germans, were compliance with Nazi orders and working for them more “rational,” since that might have saved at least some?
Zvi Gitelman is professor of political science and Preston Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Author or editor of 16 books, in 2012 Gitelman published Jewish Identities in Postcommunist Russia and Ukraine: an Uncertain Ethnicity (Cambridge University Press), based on several thousand interviews. His book A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union (2001) has been translated into Japanese and Russian. His edited volume, The Russian-speaking Jewish Diaspora, will be published in 2016. His current research is on World War Two and the Holocaust in the Soviet Union and he is editing a volume on the Russian-speaking Jewish diaspora.
Sponsored by: The Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies