Jewish resistance during the Holocaust is still understood mostly in terms of rare armed group activities in the Nazi occupied East, for example ghetto uprisings or partisan activities. This new research is based on a broader definition and countless hitherto untapped sources, including local police and court records as well as video testimonies of survivors. Introducing five new categories of resistance, the talk shows how between 1933 and 1945 Jews performed countless resistance acts in Nazi Germany proper, by destroying Nazi symbols, publicly protesting against the persecution, disobeying Nazi laws and local restrictions, and defending themselves from verbal insults as well as physical attacks. The fact that so many German Jewish women and men of all ages, educations and professions defied the Nazis obliterates the common view of the passivity of Jews under Nazi persecution. Their courageous acts, however, still need to be incorporated into the general narrative of the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in general.
Wolf Gruner (PhD, Technical University Berlin) is the Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles since 2008, and Founding Director of the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research since 2014. He is an appointed member of the Academic Committee at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum since 2017. He is the author of eleven books, among them Jewish Forced Labor under the Nazis. Economic Needs and Nazi Racial Aims with Cambridge University Press (2006), Parias de la Patria“. El mito de la liberación de los indígenas en la República de Bolivia 1825-1890 (2015), and the prizewinning The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia. Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses (2019). He coedited four books, including „Resisting Persecution. Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust” (2020), and “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison” (2019). His new book is called: Resisters. How Ordinary Jews fought Hitler’s Persecution, Yale University Press 2023.
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