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Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

In Vladka Meed’s testimony, she talks about how the greatest example of Jewish resistance was the simple act of staying alive. Similar to Meed’s beliefs, Anja and Vladek resisted by staying alive. Vladek showed resistance by showing courage and never letting his fears take over him. For his family, Vladek showed that he was willing to do anything to protect his family, even if it meant risking his own life. For Vladek, resistance meant resisting death no matter what it meant, because another death meant another win for the Nazis. Anja also showed resistance by placing her family first. Anja, as a mother, could not imagine separating herself from her own son, but eventually she complied because she knew that Richieu had a greater chance of living if she let him hide with a pole woman. Anja and Vladek were aided in their resistance by other non-Jewish people who were resisting the Nazi rule themselves. Whether it be the women who hid the two of them, the woman who offered to care for Richieu, or Mancie, these people put their own lives at risk in order to protect the lives of others, even people who didn’t even know Anja and Vladek. These people helped them survive, and indirectly aided them in their resistance.

When you are in the shoes of Anja or Vladek, you don’t have the time to consider whether your actions or forms of resistance are justified. People fighting for their lives will always be justified in their resistance. I personally don’t think it’s important to distinguish whether or not Vladek and Anja’s decisions were “good”. The two of them did not have the privilege of taking the time to consider if what they were doing was right. They could only worry about what would help them survive. It’s easy for us to criticize the actions of others, but in situations that we could never imagine, who are we to judge? How would we even judge when we could never see ourselves in these situations in the first place? In the end, what matters the most is whether or not they survived. Vladek, Anja, and all of the other Jews were doing what they believed would lead them to live another day. In these situations, right and wrong become irrelevant when your voice of reasoning can only care about whether or not you will be alive the next day.

What many Holocaust survivors seem to share in common is there determination to survive and their willingness to do whatever it took. Many broke laws, bartered, stole, snuck around, etc. because they knew it might lead to another morning. That strive to survive is something that I will never have to understand (hopefully). This innate drive to put your life at risk because who knows if you would still have that life the next day is something that I saw in each and every survivor. What they all seem to say is that they could never have survived on their own. For example, when we listened to Rena’s account of the Holocaust, she always makes note of how grateful she was of Oskar Schindler. Rena and her mother were also employed as workers for Schindler. Rena believes that she owes her life to Schindler, because without him, she believes she would not have been able to survive. In the same way, Vladek and Anja also believe they could not have survived without the help of others. With so much evil, seeing how some people had that humanity and that willingness to risk their own lives to help the persecuted must’ve eased at least a little bit of the survivors’ pressure. The bonds and aid that survivors received from others had technical benefits, but it also must’ve benefited them emotionally.

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