Evading the Holocaust

The Unexplored Continent of Holocaust Historiography
  • Gunnar S. Paulsson
Chapter

Abstract

IN 1961, Raul Hilberg proposed five categories of responses by victims of the Holocaust (indeed, by victims in general): resistance, alleviation, evasion, paralysis, and compliance.1 These have not received equal attention from historians. Hilberg himself emphasized the passive responses — paralysis and especially compliance — ingrained according to him as the result of many centuries of life in exile. In particular, he asserted controversially that ‘[t]he reaction pattern of the Jews is characterized by an almost complete lack of resistance’.2 Hannah Arendt went further, declaring that ‘without Jewish help in administrative and police work […] there would have been either complete chaos or an impossibly severe drain on German manpower’,3 from which she concluded notoriously that ‘… if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderless, […] the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people’.4

Keywords

Europe Expense Sine Hunt Stein 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (London: Holmes & Meier, 1985) 22 and 1030; henceforth Hilberg (1985).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1967), 662; henceforth Hilberg (1967). This statement is reiterated in Hilberg (1985) at p.1030.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977), 117.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Reuben Ainsztein, Jewish Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe (London: Paul Elek, 1974).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Isaiah Trunk, Jewish Responses to Nazi Persecution (New York: Stein and Day, 1979);Google Scholar
  6. Israel Gutman and Cynthia J. Haft (eds.), Patterns of Jewish Leadership in Nazi Europe, 1933–1945: Proceedings of the Third Yad Vashem International Historical Conference (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1979).Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Leonard Gross, The Last Jews in Berlin (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1982).Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    For example, Bob Moore, Victims and Survivors (London: Arnold, 1997);Google Scholar
  9. Jacob Presser, Ashes in the Wind (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1988). Moore cites recent estimates that 24–25,000 Dutch Jews went into hiding, of whom 16–17,000 survived, but describes these estimate as ‘problematic’ (p. 146). Among other things, these figures appear to include people who were exempted from deportation, of whom there were 15,632 in April 1943 (p. 103). Most but not all of these exemptions were eventually cancelled, and some holders of exemptions went into hiding in anticipation that they would lose theirs as well. Both Moore and Presser state that the majority of those in hiding were concentrated in Amsterdam, but neither ventures an estimate.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    Borwicz, Michal, Arishe papirn (Buenos Aires: Tsentral-Farband fun Poilishe Yidn, 1955) 3 volumes;Google Scholar
  11. Borwicz, Michel, Vies Interdites (Tournai: Casterman, 1968).Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    The experience of the Jews in Soviet-occupied areas in 1939–1940 has been researched by Ben-Cion Pinchuk (Shtetl Jews under Soviet Rule, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990) and othersGoogle Scholar
  13. (A. Polonsky and N. Davies, eds., Jews in Eastern Poland and the USSR, 1939–1946, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991), but this research has concentrated on ethnic relations, especially the question of Jewish—Soviet collaboration. These Jews of course include both fugitives from German-occupied Poland and those who would subsequently flee to the Soviet interior in June 1941, but in this literature there is very little discussion of flight itself. The problem of Jewish refugees in the Soviet Union was raised as early as 1959 by Meir Korzen (‘Problems Arising out of Research into the History of Jewish Refugees in the USSR during the Second World War’, Yad Vashem Studies vol.3); Korzen proposed a questionnaire to be administered to Jews who had returned from the Soviet Union after the war, but it appears that this questionnaire was never actually administered. Mordechai Altschuler, taking up the topic of flight in 1993 (‘Escape and Evacuation of the Soviet Jews at the Time of the Soviet Occupation’, in L. Dobroszycki and Jeffrey S. Gwock, The Holocaust in the Soviet Union: Studies and Sources on the Destruction of the Jews in the Nazi-Occupied Territories of the USSR 1941–1945, London: M.E. Sharpe, pp.77–104), still had reason to complain that ‘this subject has been given scanty attention in the vast Holocaust literature’ and that ‘Soviet and Western historiographies of the war refer only incidentally to escape and evacuation’ (p. 77). Pinchuk deals with the question in a 10-page chapter entitled, characteristically, ‘Why did they stay?’Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    Abraham Shulman, The Cast of the Hotel Polski (New York: Holocaust Library, 1982), 22.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    Emmanuel Ringelbaum, Polish—Jewish Relations during the Second World War (New York: Howard Fertig, 1976), 101.Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    Zofia S. Kubar, Double Identity (New York: Hill & Wang, 1989), 5.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    Gunnar S. Paulsson, ‘Hiding in Warsaw: the Jews on the “Aryan Side” in Warsaw, 1940–1945’ (Oxford: DPhil thesis, 1998), henceforth Paulsson (1998); Gunnar S. Paulsson, ‘Demographic Characteristics and Mortality Rates of Jews in Hiding in Warsaw, 1943–1945’, Polin 13 (2000), henceforth Paulsson (2000).Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    Tatiana Berenstein and Adam Rutkowski, ‘Liczba ludności Żydowskiej i obszar przez nią zamieszkiwany w Warszawie w latach okupacji hitlerowskiej’, Biuletyn ZIH 26 (1958), 73–105.Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    Adolf Berman, ‘Ha-Yehudim b’tsad ha-Ari’, in Entsiklopedia shel Galuot vol.7.8 (Varshe), (Jerusalem: Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora Co. Ltd, 1953), 685.Google Scholar
  20. 23.
    Israel Gutman, The Jews of Warsaw (Bloomingon IN: Indiana University Press, 1989) 211–213.Google Scholar
  21. 27.
    Ringelblum, Kronika Getta Warszawskiego (Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1988), 438.Google Scholar
  22. 41.
    Philip Friedman, ‘Extermination of the Polish Jews in German-Occupied Poland, 1939–1945’, in Roads to Extinction: Essays on the Holocaust (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publications Society of America, 1980), ed. Ada June Friedman, 235–236. Friedman estimates that 40–50,000 Jews survived ‘on the soil of Poland’, and indicates that this number includes people who survived in ‘family camps’, as partisans, and who were liberated in German labour camps on Polish soil (principally the Hasag camp near Częstochowa.) On this basis, other authors have reduced the number of survivors ‘on the Aryan side’ to 30,000 or even 20,000. However there are numerous other categories of survivors ‘on the Aryan side’ who must be taken into account, among them: those who did not register as Jews after the war, particularly Jewish orphans being raised by Catholic families; those who survived as ‘Aryans’ in camps in Germany, particularly about 7,000 Warsaw Jews who were deported to these camps after the 1944 uprising, and various smaller categories, such as those who enlisted in the Berling army and ended the war in Germany. The number of non-registered survivors in particular is very difficult to estimate, since many Jewish children raised by Polish families remain unaware of their identity to this day. At a rather conservative guess, these categories of survivors may be estimated to number 20–30,000, bringing the total number of survivors ‘on the Aryan side’ to about 40–60,000.Google Scholar
  23. 42.
    Adam Hempel, Pogrobowcy kleski: Rzecz o policji ‘granatowej’ w Generalnym Gubematorstwie 1939–1945 (Warszawa: PWN, 1990) 175–176. For a less apologetic study of the ‘Blue’ police, vide Marek Getter, ‘Policja granatowa w Warszawie, 1939–1944’, Studia Warszawkie (vol.8) 215–237.Google Scholar
  24. 43.
    Michal Weichert, Yidishe aleinhilf 1939–1945 (Tel Aviv: Menorah, 1962).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Gunnar S. Paulsson

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