New York Times goes Borg: Resistance is Futile. The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were dumb.

The failure of Jews to mount an effective defense against the Waffen-SS in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 provides a good example of what happens when ordinary citizens with small arms go up against a well-equipped force. The uprising in the ghetto possesses enduring symbolic significance, as an instance of Jews’ determination to resist their oppression. But the uprising saved few Jewish lives and had little to no impact on the course of either World War II or the Holocaust. Jews around the world did, to be sure, react to the Holocaust by concluding that they needed to protect themselves from anti-Semites more effectively. But they understood that this would be accomplished not through the individual acquisition of firearms, but rather through the establishment of a Jewish state with an army to defend it.

Source: Ben Carson Is Wrong on Guns and the Holocaust – Alan E. Steinweis – The New York Times

Sometimes, I don’t understand how some historians see the past. I am guessing that there is a certain rigidity in their thinking, sort of fast set rules and outcomes that cannot be altered so they squeeze the data through that filter and come up with some erroneous notions.

The failure of Jews to mount an effective defense against the Waffen-SS.

They did not mount a defense, it was resistance. They knew they were being herded to concentration camps and not for massages and Mai-Tais at Treblinka and Sobibor, so they chose how to go. They chose to go fighting.

provides a good example of what happens when ordinary citizens with small arms go up against a well-equipped force.

Here we see the possible ignorance of Mr. Steinweis when it comes to armed conflicts. Partisans and Guerrillas are hated by the military for the amount of resources they take to neutralize. Military doctrine explains that it takes 10 regular soldiers to neutralize the actions of a partisan. Those 10 soldiers need to be armed, mobilized, quartered, fed and provided with healthcare while they fight these irregulars. It is a monumental drain of resources that could be used in other fronts or actions being taken by the regular armed forces. The malnourished, sick and untrained Warsaw partisan (about 500 at its highest number) faced 2,000 Waffen-SS troops directly and more than 7,200 other military and adjuncts had to provide security and support for them. The math is rather simple: they pulled almost a 20 to 1 ratio and that ladies and gents and I posted before in this blog, was a feat of arms.

I want to quote David Kopel next:

The Germans suffered over a thousand casualties in the first week of fighting alone. The Germans had to spend more time subduing the Warsaw Ghetto than they did conquering the entire nations of Poland or France.

The Warsaw Ghetto was one square mile and walled. Wrap your mind around that.

But the uprising saved few Jewish lives and had little to no impact on the course of either World War II or the Holocaust.

This is where Mr. Steinweis again filters so much information, it obscures his research. The Nazis were supposed to clean the Warsaw ghetto starting on April 19 and take no longer than 3 days. It took 7 weeks and 10,000 men and supplies. At the same time, the Allies were counterattacking in North Africa and those Nazis occupied with that small band of Jews, could have been used to help the Afrika Korps and the Italian army. North Africa fell to the Allies three days before the ending of the Uprising.

There are many other example where Partisans have made a difference in WWII: From the French Resistance to the Greeks Resistance to the multitude of Philippine resistance movements, all of them managed to misdirect millions of Axis soldiers from the main lines of battle. To belittle their effort is unbecoming by any serious historian and I do hope Mr. Steinweis’ view on the Warsaw Ghetto uprising is just poor understanding of the complexities of war and not just sad political punditry.

Ruins of Warsaw Ghetto, leveled by German forces, according to Adolf Hitler's order, after suppressing of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. North-west view, left - the Krasiński`s Garden and Swiętojerska street, photo taken in 1945
Ruins of Warsaw Ghetto, leveled by German forces, according to Adolf Hitler’s order, after suppressing of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. North-west view, left – the Krasiński`s Garden and Swiętojerska street, photo taken in 1945

16 Replies to “New York Times goes Borg: Resistance is Futile. The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were dumb.”

  1. Steinweis is even more clueless than you indicate.

    “what happens when ordinary citizens with small arms go up against a well-equipped force.”

    Ben Carson’s point was not about attacking an army with rocks, it was about making sure you have more than just “small arms” available.

    Had the jews not been disarmed by their Government, they would not be fighting back against a much larger force with little more than a few handguns.




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  2. Exactly. Start with faulty premise, come to wrong conclusion, and voila, we have proven our point, we think.

    Mr Steinweis does prove, inadvertently, one thing.

    The Jews in the Ghetto were walled in, with no support structure. They resisted at the end, when it was all too clear what was coming. This resistance ended in their deaths, for which the world is made poorer with their losses. (Oh, how I would have loved to have met Mordechai Anielewicz)

    That is pretty much a recipe for failure, at least when it comes to personal survival.

    Imagine how it might have ended differently, had the Jews organized and armed themselves sooner. Imagine what might have happened had they better arms, and more Jews willing to fight. Imagine how much more they might have accomplished had they not been taken to the Ghetto, walled in, and starved.

    But, because they failed, at the end, hungry, tired, without any form of relief or support structure, everyone is doomed to fail. So don’t try. That’s the message Mr Steinweis sees.

    The message I see is– don’t wait too long. Get off the X. Wait too long, and your resistance is likely doomed to end in your deaths, with little or no benefit for those around you. A support structure doesn’t build itself. It certainly doesn’t arise from nothing in the midst of a war. It is built now, before it is needed.




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  3. The comment that it saved only a few Jewish lives cuts to the matter. They would ALL have been dead in the concentration camps. Instead a few survived, regrettably at great cost. That is a victory.

    I understand they fought with a handful of retrieved hidden weapons and a few captured arms and still made a mockery of German military might. Like the Alamo and Thermophylae, such hopeless battles can inspire resistance and boost morale.

    I know what the end goal of Mr. Steinweis is though. He wants us to have the defeated mindset that we will lay down our arms because we can’t possibly win against the might of the Federal government if they come to take our firearms, and herd us into the cattle cars or buses for the FEMA camps. Wrong! People like me will resist and effectively, too.

    Before you call me crazy, talk to some Americans of Japanese ancestry who were shipped to our relocation camps and chew on that for a while.




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    1. The comment that it saved only a few Jewish lives cuts to the matter. They would ALL have been dead in the concentration camps. Instead a few survived, regrettably at great cost. That is a victory.

      Yeah, I caught that, too.

      Whatever happened to, “If it saves just one life”?




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  4. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553807277?keywords=isaacs%20army&qid=1444932166&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1

    Best history of the Warsaw Resistance I have ever read. I am shocked at how much I did not know of what went on and how it influenced politics after the war ended.

    There are other good histories of insurgency/resistance throughout the world that spell out in detail how little people with rocks and knives got small arms they used to get more, better, and bigger weapons as well as tying up the enemy dealing with them.

    [quote]Or you may be in a similar situation, and if you’re in a situation like
    That, there’s only one thing you can do:

    Walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in, say, “Shrink, . . . you
    Can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant”, and walk out.

    You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they may think he’s
    Really sick and they won’t take him.

    And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and
    They won’t take either of them.

    And if three people do it! Can you imagine three people walkin’ in, singin’
    A bar of “Alice’s Restaurant” and walkin’ out? They may think it’s an
    Organization!

    And can you imagine fifty people a day? I said FIFTY people a day . . .
    Walkin’ in, singin’ a bar of “Alice’s Restaurant” and walkin’ out? Friends,
    They may think it’s a MOVEMENT, and that’s what it is: THE ALICE’S
    RESTAURANT ANTI-MASSACREE MOVEMENT! . . . and all you gotta do to join is to
    Sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar.[/quote]

    stay safe.




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  5. I’ve felt that there are two schools of thought as to why Jewish Leftists always shoot down (pardon the pun) the idea that armed Jews could have resisted the Holocaust.

    1) Embarrassment. Shame, pure and simple. The are embarrassed that so many of the Jews of Europe marched to their death with little more than a whimper. How could a people with 5700 years of history just walk into gas chambers and crawl into ovens?

    The answer to that is: the Jews of Europe had been beaten down emotional for generations. They were never seen as citizens of Germany or Poland or elsewhere. They were permanent outsiders who lived at the mercy of the lords of the land. As such, the attitude was to lay low, don’t resist, accept that you could be thrown out of your home at any time for any reason. Just watch Fiddler on the Roof, that is what Tevye says at the end of the play. So after generations of oppression and pogroms, the fight was taken out of the Jews, and few resisted even in the face of certain death.

    Am I ashamed of my people’s history? Yes. But I walk a different path. Israel was founded by Jews to learned that the future belongs to those who fight. I may not have been born in Israel, but I am more Israeli than “Seinfeld liberal NY Jew.” I don’t believe the mantra that “nothing could have been done, had Europe’s Jews been armed the same thing would have happened.” If somebody comes in the night for my children, they better pray that I have a gun and shoot them, because any other means of death they encounter at my hands will be a lot more painful.

    2) They are cheerleaders for big government, they are Quislings, Kapo, and Useful Idiots. They want to believe that next time, they will be safe from the camps because they tired to convince their fellow Jews to disarm. To them I say “remember, when the Israelis were done hanging the SS, they hung the Kapo too.”




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    1. Many Europeans, remembering the brutality of the WWI German occupation, figured it was bet to just sit back, relax, and wait for England to come to her senses, surrender, and let the war end. Turn franc-tireur, and you’ll just make things bad for everyone!

      Many of the Jews likewise thought themselves to be good, assimilated Germans/Dutch/ect and peacefully went along, hoping that it was all some sort of mistake, that Hitler would make things right once he felt more secure, or once the war was over.

      Besides, who wants to be part of Herzl’s Zionist kooks? You’ll just make waves!

      (sigh)What if… what if the Low Countries had a military tradition akin to Switzerland? What if the OKH had to plan for “a rifle behind every blade of grass” in Poland?




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  6. If I were in the Warsaw Ghetto, I’d rather go down fighting than have been herded off to an extended and horrible death at the hands of the Nazis.




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  7. I used to laugh and repeat all of the “dumb Polock” jokes I heard in school. Hated history classes and barely passed them. Then I discovered Boyington’s biography, and was immediately hooked on history as it REALLY happened, not as it was taught. FDR is a colossal dick. The Poles, whom everybody laughed at for getting steamrolled by the Wermacht in three weeks, and who mounted a “resistance in Warsaw armed with a couple of handguns” actually put up a much MUCH harder fight against the most modern mechanized army in the world using nothing more than a few scrounged and saved weapons, and planes/tanks that were WW1 surplus. Lump me in with the Jews who stood up during the Warsaw Uprising? To that I humbly reply, “thank you, and may I be worthy of the honor.” To those who would wall me and mine in? I simply reply, “bring it.”




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  8. In response to the fact that the Polish were overrun by the Germans: You must consider that the Soviets also invaded not long after the Germans, leaving the Poles in a vise. The pogroms of the Soviets were at least as bad as those of the Germans. It should also be remembered that Poland did quite well for a country that only existed as a provision of the Treaty of Paris of 1919, and that included the Danzig Corridor, which placed major German assets behind the frontier. They fought FIVE territorial wars with their neighbors in the 1920s, and won all of them. There was also an uprising in Warsaw in 1945, when the Soviets were approaching, which had much the same outcome, because the Soviet Army stopped to “Rest and Recover prior to the final push”.




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  9. “The Warsaw Ghetto was one square mile and walled. Wrap your mind around that.”

    The Nazis were shooting fish in a barrel. This can’t be compared to “free range” resistance fighters who can choose when and where they attack, are able to conduct sabotage and assassination campaigns, and who can then melt into the local population or disappear into the wilderness. To use the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as an example of the futility of resistance to modern governments and their militaries demonstrates little understanding of the nature of actual guerilla operations as such conflicts have played out historically.




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  10. The Democratic Party in full blow psychology warfare against the citizens, knowing they can only win if the people submit. ” you can’t possibly stand up to the military with your handguns” ( what if the military sides with the people? )




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  11. Of course no insurgency can stand up against a modern military. Why, look at the abysmal failure of the efforts of the IRA, the beat-down the Viet Cong endured. Mr. Steinweiss has nailed it. When the Warsaw Jews melted back into the jungles, the Wermacht simply sprayed defoliant and carpet bombed them…no, wait…that’s not quite right, is it? Perhaps, the teeming Warsaw Ghetto, and a dozen firearms, more or less, is a poor model for any American Revolution V2.0?




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