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World War II: Courage and resistance


"How could so many people—six million Jews and five million others, a number impossible to imagine - from all over Europe be murdered in so short a time? Did anyone oppose the Nazis? Did anyone come to assist the Jews or other victims of the Nazis? Did the Jews try to fight back?

Resistance, in many ways, was near impossible for Jews, and it was also extremely difficult for citizens in the occupied countries. There was little access to weapons, almost no ability to move about freely, and a majority of the population that for various reasons was uninterested in resisting the Nazis. Furthermore, open conflict was not a wise alternative, since it most often resulted in death for oneself and others.

Despite the odds, many Jews practised some form of resistance, whether it was cultural and spiritual, or armed and active. In addition, a small number of non-Jews were involved in resistance, though they were the exception to the rule."

Source: United States Anti Defamation League

First they came
by Pastor Martin NIEMÖLLER

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Source: UK Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

William Cooper

"On November 9-10, 1938, Jewish businesses, synagogues, houses and schools were destroyed, dozens of people were killed and 30,000 men were arrested and taken to concentration camps, in what is known as Kristallnacht — the night of broken glass.

It sent shockwaves through Europe and the rest of the world.

Having publicly condemned the mistreatment of Aborigines in Australia, the Yorta Yorta man could not stay silent.

One month after Kristallnacht, at approximately seven in the morning, a group of aboriginals met at William Cooper’s house in Footscray.  Immaculately dressed in suits and hats, they were headed to the Melbourne CBD where they had an 11.30 am appointment.
They planned to present the Consular General of Germany with a letter. The letter was an aboriginal protest relating to how Germany was
treating the Jews. 

The letter read,
'On behalf of the Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia, we wish to have it registered and on record that we protest wholeheartedly at the cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government in Germany. We plead that you would make it known to your government and its military leaders that this cruel persecution of their fellow citizens must be brought to an end.'” 

Abba Kovner biography

"Jewish youth! Do not trust those who are trying to deceive you. Hitler plans to destroy all the Jews of Europe…We will not be led like sheep to the slaughter! True, we are weak and defenceless, but the only reply to the murderer is revolt! Brothers! Better to fall as free fighters than to live by the mercy of the murderers. Arise! Arise with your last breath!"

Source: US Holocaust Memorial Museum








Irma Hanner's biography

"Irma Hanner was born in Dresden, Germany in 1930. Her father died when she was young. Following the outbreak of war, Irma returned home from school one day to find that her mother had been taken by the Gestapo. Irma waited alone in the house for two days. Finally Irma's aunt came and took her home with her. In 1942, at age 12, Irma was deported to Theresienstadt ghetto/camp in Czechoslovakia. Irma was only 14 when the war ended. Her mother did not survive."

Source: Jewish Holocaust Centre

Irma's story in her own words






The “Oneg Shabbat” Archive, also known as the Ringelblum Archive, is one of the most impressive and unique projects initiated by the Jews during the Holocaust. This underground archive was established and run by historian and community figure Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum, with the express purpose of documenting the reality of life under Nazi occupation.

"It must all be recorded with not a single fact omitted. And when the time comes – as it surely will – let the world read and know what the murderers have done."

Source: Yad Vashem

This documentary tells the story of the Oyneg Shabes archive, created by a clandestine group led by historian Emanuel Ringelbaum, in the Warsaw Ghetto who vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda by detailing life in the ghetto from the Jewish perspective. Using writings, artwork, statistics, photographs, objects of daily life, poems and songs, more than 35,000 pages were buried in tin boxes and aluminium crates. 

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