Uprising in Treblinka
The reading about death camps is one that is not easy. It makes you question your faith in humanity, how people can be so cruel, and many other things. When doing these readings seeing acts of resistance can be rare. The Jewish acts of resistance have not been highlighted in readings I have done in past classes. Sax and Kuntz state “resistance in the concentration camps was rare and extremely difficult for Jews (1). Therefore, I decided to research more how the escape from Treblinka came to be. What encouraged the Jewish to take action? Why continue on with their plan despite problems that occurred?
The uprising was planned by “a group of Jewish prisoners, calling themselves the “Organizing Committee,” they “began planning an uprising and mass escape” (2). They suffered obstacles, such as the capture of their deputy commandant Chorazycki, and his eventual suicide. Nevertheless, they went ahead with their revolt on August 2, 1943.
Even before the revolt “news of the German defeats filled the Jewish prisoners with hope and trepidation” and “Jewish fighters also learned about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising from prisoners on the incoming transports” (2). This gave the Jewish hope and pushed them to continue with their August 2nd revolt plans. The picture here shows some of the participants of the Treblinka uprising. Sax and Kuntz state, “over 150 Jews escaped, but only about 40 survived” (1). Although, this number may be smaller than many-hoped for, news of revolts would continue to spread throughout the Jews. Therefore, despite limited Jewish success, revolts became an important tool to give some Jewish hope in a time they desperately needed it.
- Benjamin Sax and Dieter Kuntz, Inside Hitler’s Germany: A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich (Massachusetts: D.C Heath and Company, 1992), 448
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “Treblinka Death Camp Revolt,” November 11, 2015, http://www.ushmm.org/research/the-center-for-advanced-holocaust-studies/miles-lerman-center-for-the-study-of-jewish-resistance/medals-of-resistance-award/treblinka-death-camp-revolt, page 1