Circle Of Death Essay

1799 words - 7 pages

Circle of Death
Could you make the decision to doom some, in order to save others? This has always appeared as one of the most difficult decisions within the nature of mankind. Those who have the ability to declare death to others easily are often seen as sadistic or demented. No culture has been faced with this decision more than the Jewish people, especially under the Nazi Regime. During the early 1940’s Nazis imprisoned Jews within “ghettos” to keep stricter control; however, once imprisoned the Nazis handed over control and maintenance to a select council of Jews, the Judenrat. The Judenrat, despite having influence in the ghetto society, were often given “obey or die” ultimatums by the Nazi commanders and troops. In order to give some glimmer of hope to the charges that were now their responsibility, the Judenrat often created work programs within Nazi industries to create a necessity for the Jewish culture. Many Jews made tough decisions while under the Nazi Regime including the Judenrat who were forced to decide on the fates of who dies, works, etc.; however, they made the best of the situations they were placed into and did their best to help their people survive and prosper in most cases.
Decisions, decisions…
Many historians criticize the Judenrat now, but many more lives would have been destroyed without the efforts they made to provide for their ghettos. Had resistance been shown openly, they would’ve been shot and killed with no hesitation by Nazi officers. As proof, Josef Parnes of Lvov refused to send Jews to deportation and the Nazis executed him (American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise).
Also Jacob Gens, for example, believed in “work for life” to keep his ghetto residents alive (Lisciotto Jacob Gens and the Holocaust). Gens was able to keep between fourteen thousand and twenty thousand Jews alive through his program (Lisciotto Jacob Gens and the Holocaust). Rumkowski had a similar thought; if the Jews worked, the Nazis would “need” them and therefore provide food and/or money (Liscotto “Chaim Rumkowski”). As many other Judenrat leaders believed, they thought creating a necessity for the Jews was essential to survival.
Men like Rumkowski had ideas on how to reason with Nazis to create a necessity for the Jewish residents. His idea included Nazis shipping materials to Jews, who would finish the products for provisions in return. Rumkowski actually had a fatal flaw; not specifying how much food would be given (Liscotto “Chaim Rumkowski”). Jacob Gens happened to share this idea with Rumkowski. Gens was one of the most successful with this idea before the liquidation of the ghetto. He eventually got fourteen thousand of the twenty thousand of his charges to work outside of ghettos in mines, factories, etc. (Lisciotto and Lundberg “Jacob Gens and the Holocaust”). As one can see, few leaders had success in negotiating any type of reasonable terms with the Nazis; virtually all ghettos were liquidated before the concentration...

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