“Lucidly illustrates how a few hundred Jewish fighters with Molotov cocktails, homemade grenades and no military training twice forced the Germans to retreat from the ghetto.”
— New York Times Book Review
On April 19, 1943, thousands of Nazi troops were given the order to remove all Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, a few square blocks sheltering the remnants of the half million or more Jewish citizens of Poland’s capital, to the death camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz. They were to kill those who resisted. A few hundred of the trapped Jews, mostly teenagers, armed only with pistols, Molotov cocktails, and a few light machine guns, vowed to fight back. Resistance is the full story of the uprising and the events leading to it, told by a survivor of the battle who is now a world-renowned Israeli scholar of the Holocaust.
Warsaw in the 1920s and the 1930s was the home of Europe’s largest and most vibrant Jewish community. It included the rich, the poor, and the middle class; casual assimilationists and ardent Zionists; representatives of the full spectrum of political and religious factions. Then came the German onslaught of ruthless violence against the Jews—isolation and starvation amid desperation and disease—then deportations. As the ghetto walls rose, hundreds of thousands were rounded up and sent to Treblinka. But resistance began to take shape, and when the final attack order came, the ghetto fighters stood ready.
Supported by moving and dramatic excerpts from diaries, letters, and other documents of the period, Resistance is destined to take its place as the classic account of a most important turning point in the Jewish and world history. From the book jacket.
“In Resistance, Israel Gutman….the foremost expert on the Jews of Warsaw during the Holocaust, has written a history of that community that conveys in a comprehensive and comprehensible manner why there was so little resistance and, in light of the unfavorable circumstances, why indeed there was so much. His book is not just an account of the famous uprising, but also the life of the community before its final, defiant stand.”
— Daniel J. Goldhagen in Newsday
“Exhilarating…the hundreds of Jews who resisted, many of them teenagers, grabbed that choice with a courage that shows the very best of what the human spirit has to offer.”
— Los Angeles Times
“One would have to read dozens of German, Jewish, and Polish accounts to get what Gutman has gleaned for us here. An essential one-volume read.”
— Kirkus Reviews
Israel Gutman holds the Max and Rita Haber Chair in Modern Jewish History at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Contemporary Jewry. He is the former director of the research center at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum. A survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the concentration camps of Majdanek, Auschwitz, and Mauthausen. Professor Gutman lives in Jerusalem.