Many people have wondered (as did I, when I was younger) why Jewish communities under National Socialist tyranny didn’t react (sooner) with armed resistance. (Individuals and smaller Jewish groups did, of course.) Contrary to what some people mistakenly assume, Judaism is not a pacifist religion, and the idea of meekly accepting one’s fate at the hands of one’s killers is not some sort of Jewish ideal.
Raul Hilberg, the doyen of Shoah historians, sees this very differently in “The Destruction of the European Jews”, (3rd Edition, Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 25-27). In response to “garden variety” oppressors, the Jewish community developed and honed an adaptive response over many centuries that ultimately relied on the oppressor’s self-interest: make them “not slaughter the goose that lays the golden eggs for them”.
[…] The alleviation-compliance response dates, as we have seen, to pre-Christian times. It has its beginnings with the Jewish philosophers…
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