A common perception of Jews during World War II is that they were passive and submissive in the face of German oppression. In Resistance, Holocaust scholar Nechama Tec questions the validity of this widely held assumption, arguing that rather than making empty claims about Jewish passivity or heroics during the Holocaust, a systematic comparison of Jewish and non-Jewish resistance is needed. Using firsthand accounts and interviews, Tec examines the four main settings of the war-ghetto, concentration camp, forest and countryside, and the Aryan world-and describes what life was like for Jews and non-Jews in each. Tec's comparisons show that even when Jewish and non-Jewish groups were in the same place at the same time, each faced vastly different conditions, and opportunities for Jewish resistance were far scarcer and more complicated than for their non-Jewish counterparts. Given the unique Jewish predicament, Tec explains that Jewish resistance had different aims-in particular, Jewish efforts emphasized recovery of dignity and salvation of lives, rather than large-scale thwarting of their oppressors.
This illuminating book also explores the larger concept of resistance, often too narrowly equated with armed attempts or too broadly equated with attempts merely to survive. Tec brilliantly argues that resistance is dependent on the oppressed party's intent and the particular nature of the oppression faced. Closely reasoned and eloquently constructed, Resistance reinvigorates the discussion about resistance in World War II.
Nechama Tec is a Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of Conneticut, Stamford, and the bestselling author of Defiance, now a major motion picture. Her other books include Dry Tears, In the Lion's Den, and When Light Pierced the Darkness.
Introduction: "At the Edge of Nowhere." ; Chapter One: Background ; Chapter Two: In the Ghettos ; Chapter Three: Partisans and Forests ; Chapter Four: Concentration Camps ; Chapter Five: Couriers ; Chapter Six: The Special Case of Jan Karski ; Chapter Seven: Conclusion