It’s very rare to hear a story of someone who escaped from concentration camps. However, in the memoirs of Samuel Willenberg, we get that exact experience. The story of this rebel is even more shocking when one considers that Samuel was merely 19 years old when he was deported to Treblinka (Sax & Kuntz 448). Samuel was active in the underground group of Treblinka and eventually took part in the escape plan one year after arriving at Treblinka (Sax & Kuntz 448). At a mere 19 years old, Samuel understood well the desperate situation of the camp, talking about the importance of ridding the camp of informers (Sax & Kuntz 449). His memoir talks about the important yet secret role of the underground in a relatable way.
I think this document brings up fantastic questions about the role of young adults in the holocaust. Throughout the semester, we have lumped young people into the category of being supporters of the Nazi regime based on the assumption that all youth would have been raised and educated under this regime. However, in this young man, we can see that youth did in fact have a role in pushing against the Nazi power. Young adults have been involved in very difficult movements throughout history in many different parts of the world. While many of them are expressly talked about, such as the Freedom Riders in 1960s America, in Nazi Germany, we do not talk about the youth countering the Nazi party very frequently. The works of Samuel Willenberg showcase a unique side of the Holocaust while also talking about a very important topic: how to escape.
Grycuk, Adrian. Willenberg with his Treblinka studies at the Treblinka Museum permanent exhibition. Wikipedia. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.
Sax, Benjamin, and Dieter Kuntz. Inside Hitler’s Germany: A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich. D.C. Heath and Company, 1992. 448-449.