According to Arno Lustiger, Jewish resistance (Widerstand) during the Holocaust has received far too little attention. Lustiger, a survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald and a well-known historian of the Holocaust, helps the reader gain a deeper understanding of Widerstand in his book, Zum Kampf auf Leben und Tod! Vom Widerstand der Juden 1933-1945 (translation: To Fight for Life or Death! The Jewish Resistance 1933-1945).
In more than six-hundred pages, Lustiger has collected dozens of interviews with survivors, short biographies, autobiographical reports, maps, and photographs to document how varied Jewish resistance was. The reader learns about partisans in the woods of Eastern Europe, street fighters in Paris, ghetto soldiers in Wilna, rescuers of children, citizens practicing civil disobedience and sabotage, inmates rebelling in the concentration camps, and many more. Three of the twelve chapters are dedicated to the Jewish troops in the allied forces, particularly the thirty-thousand volunteers from Palestine.
Zum Kampf auf Leben und Tod! offers essays by guest authors and historians such as Israel Gutman and Werner Jochmann, and detailed chronologies of Jewish resistance organized by region. For example, the section on Widerstand in Poland has four chapters: Warsaw, Ghettos, Camps, and Partisans. In addition, the book features an extensive bibliography and index of names.
By collecting and presenting as many facts as possible, Lustiger convincingly argues against the myth of Jewish passivity in the face of terror, and he stresses that every survivor of the Holocaust, simply by being a survivor, bears witness and is living testimony to Widerstand.
Zum Kampf auf Leben und Tod! has been published as a paperback by Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. (dtv) and is currently available only in German.
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