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May 5, 2016 5:21 pm

Head of Holocaust Research Group Reveals New Shocking Testimony From Warsaw Ghetto (INTERVIEW)

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From the Depths founder Jonny Daniels. Photo: From the Depths.

From the Depths founder Jonny Daniels. Photo: From the Depths.

The oft-repeated notion that Jews went willingly to the slaughter during the Holocaust is completely unfounded, a Holocaust commemoration activist told The Algemeiner on Thursday, citing a number of documents which were recently uncovered by his organization detailing eye-witness accounts of Jews fighting back.

Jonny Daniels, founder and executive director of From the Depths, which works with Holocaust survivors, Jewish communities in Eastern Europe and the Polish government to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, said that one of several projects he is engaged in includes translating first hand accounts that have sat untouched for years in Poland’s governmental archives.

Daniels said his organization has “uncovered remarkable documentation that shows thousands of accounts of ‘fighting back’ from eyewitnesses” throughout the Holocaust, which he is working on cataloging, translating and publishing.

Two months ago, Daniels and his team came across an old communist-era document written in the late 1940s. The document turned out to be an eyewitness account from a Jewish male in his 20s of an emotional tale of survival from the Warsaw Ghetto “which happened almost 73 years ago to this very day,” Daniels said.

Daniels shared the story publicly for the first time with The Algemeiner:

A group of Jewish boys blockaded themselves in a building inside the ghetto and were shooting at Nazis walking past. One of the little known ways the Nazis would enter the buildings of the ghetto was by using a human shield, a Jew. One of the survivors told of the time that while blockaded inside the room, they suddenly heard a knock on the door. Sitting quietly, the boys heard the sweet old voice of an elderly Jewish man calmly call out to them in beautiful, poetic Yiddish: ‘My children, the time has come. I am knocking on this door asking for safe passage. Alas, behind me stands a group of Amalek (evil people). Shoot me and then kill them. Better I die by the bullet of Jewish heroes then by the bullet of evil.’ The young men did just that. By giving his life, the old pious Jew saved those young Jews fighting, allowing them to live another day.

According to Daniels, “this story is perhaps the most harrowing of accounts we have ever uncovered.”

Other remarkable testimony uncovered by From the Depths shows how many Jews worked to ensure that their last moments on earth would not be spent in vain. In one case, eyewitness accounts tell of malnourished and downtrodden Jews getting off the trains at the Treblinka concentration camp after being told it would “be a better place,” Daniels related. “They realized that this would be their final stop and they fought back, taking sadly a futile stand before they were murdered.” In other cases, “Jewish women refused to be stripped naked, paraded and often raped by their Nazi tormentors. Instead, they would attack the Nazis and, in some accounts, even kill the Nazi bastards before they were murdered themselves.”

“One of the questions I always heard growing up and which was actually asked in one of my first interviews in Poland over two years ago is, ‘Why didn’t the Jews put up more of a fight? Why did they go like sheep to the slaughter?’ After a few years of living the subject, speaking with survivors, saviors and eyewitnesses, I can unequivocally say that the Jews fought back,” Daniels said.

The uncovering of these stories of heroism and survival by From the Depths highlights an important issue facing the future of Holocaust memorialization, Daniels said. “The same way we are losing survivors of the Holocaust, so too are eyewitnesses passing away at a rapid rate,” he said. “We have a handful of years left to interview and speak to these people before it is too late.”  

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  • Mark Langer

    Unfortunately, it seems that only a very small minority fought back. Most did not because they could not. They had few or no weapons and they were going up against heavily armed soldiers. Combine that with a cultural disdain/disinterest for physical strength and military training and weapons ownership, and a strong level of denial about the intentions of the Nazis, the end result was that the Nazis had a relatively easy time of rounding up and massacring the Jews. The proof of this is that the Nazis suffered very few casualties in perpetuating the Holocaust. If they suffered heavily, that would support the author’s conclusion. That being said, those who fought were the mightiest of heroes and should be remembered and honored as such.

    • hadassa

      You’ve omitted the fact that in so many cases, any resistance by Jews against the Nazis and their cohorts would result, and did result, in terrible punishment and/or murder of family members and others unfortunate enough to be caught in the net of the Nazi criminals. As for ownership of weapons…that’s just laughable! There was no widespread ‘cultural disdain/disinterest’ in physical strength, except perhaps among the elderly and perhaps the very religious. Witness the strong men, especially from the towns rather than the large cities, who worked as blacksmiths, butchers, carriers (treger) and other labour intensive trades.

  • pinchas david

    It must be extremely painful for the Europeans, they have to settle for giving money to Arabs to kill Jews. While the Arabs have all the fun, all the Europeans can do is mourn Arab losses, and harass Jews through the UN and NGOs.


    One tends to forget that the Jews of Europe had no country of their own,to take their part and protect them. Countries outside Germany refused to accept them as refugees. They were easy targets for the German and other Nazis.The wonder of it all is that some of them managed to resist the murderers. Most could not conceive the horrible and evil intentions of Hitler’s regime. How could any civilized person believe its intention to destroy and eliminate an entire people? It was more comfortable and acceptable to believe that somehow one will survive.
    Today despite history’s lesson, many people still do not accept the horrible reality of the Holocaust, or of genocide anywhere.

    • This comment refuses to consider the lieu de refuge which was the USSR. The estimated survivors who found refuge in Russia was some 500,000 compared to the Zionist refuge which aided only 40,000.

      • Yair Geiman

        The “Zionist” refuge, IE Mandatory Palestine, was ruled by the British who kept the country closed to Jews, except for a very small yearly quota. (the infamous White Paper)
        In this, they were partners in the crime of the Holocaust.
        If I did not know any better, I would think your comment was meant to push an anti-Israel narrative.

    • The remarkable wonder is that any Jews managed to Survive Hitler’s intention for them!

  • Jon Bursey

    Never, never, never, never, never, never give up your guns. Helplessness is not virtue-responsible use of power to protect and preserve life is.

  • I’m so thrilled to read such an article that helps to set the story straight once and for all. I am the son of Holocaust survivors and I identify with them. People, including our own Jews, conflate the civilized behaviour of Jews to use words instead of fighting at the drop of the hat, with going like sheep to their death. Utter nonsense! I like most Jews consider myself a peaceful man but there are times when I will stand up to anyone and have done so in the past. Although we are taught that violence is bad we are also taught the importance of self defence. One can easily look at one of the best armies in the world, the IDF which thanks to Hashem helps to defend our tiny Jewish state, Israel!

  • Peter Joffe

    The Germans and the other people of the world who sat back and did nothing about the Holocaust are complicit in its happening! The Muslims who sit back and do nothing about the crimes and savagery committed in the name of Muslims and Islam are equally guilty. Evil can only succeed when good men do nothing and the worst of these are Muslims. They sit back and watch, or even praise the decay of the civilized world. Islam is a disease of the worst order. Not a phobia about a disease, it is the disease itself. The instruction manual for the death of the world is the Quran.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Is good to see that Daniel had confirm that Jews had resist the nazi who wanted them exterminate. Time passing is use for racist to negate the past crimes and to perpetrate more crime against Jews and other. The world is not getting a better place that 70 years ago unfortunately.

  • Paul Weber

    I do not think that a dozen Jewish people fighting makes a story that they fought back against the Nazis. The writing on the wall started in 1933 in Germany. The Nazis burn the Jewish churches, made 3 class citizens out of them. Their friends and relatives just disappeared at night. The smart ones left Germany in 1933, they knew what was coming.

  • Yaakov

    The idea that non-human animals like sheep go to their slaughter passively and without understanding that their death is imminent is a false one meant to rationalize what is being done to them. Let’s recognize that all life is part of a continuum and start showing respect for all of Hashem’s Creation.

  • Ralph Levitt

    Lamentably, this is just not true.
    Without doubt, tens of thousands of Jewish people fought
    valiantly and often effectively.
    But for the vast majority, it was surrender and passivity.
    A figure of 5% would be too high, except maybe in France.
    In Greece, where it’s relatively easy to get numbers, we may point to between 1 and 2 percent.
    Several more percent went into hiding.
    The simple and sad fact is that virtually the entire secular and religious leadership of the Jewish people insisted on cooperation with the Nazi overlords, motivated by the idea that cooperation would earn mercy from the Nazis.
    Who fought back?
    As a rule, the Jews who fought were those who were from,
    or influenced by, secular organizations before the war—
    Zionists from Hashomer and a few other Zionist groups, Revisionist Zionists, Communists and Bundists.
    The closer a Jew was to the influence of Rabbis and synagogue, the more likely that Jew was to accept fate as it came.
    But nothing diminishes the heroism and glory of the fighters—-they were among the triumphs of our people.

    • Jacob Silver

      What you are saying is True.
      My Grandmother AH told me of the Rabbis who convinced their people to Stay and Not Run Away. They asked Rhetorically ” You think the Nazis would Kill women and Children?”
      It is these Rabbis who although they died with their people, have never been held accountable for their leadership. Fortunately for me my Grandmother who was a little non-conformist devided to run to one of the “Stans” and survived.

    • Nothing should diminish the memory of 6,000,000 Jews who held onto their Family to the bitter end to afford them the last moments of comfort. Who amongst us would allow our Children to go into eternity unprotected?

  • Patricia McGehee

    It seems to me, here in America, we are losing the battle to the Radical Left and the Islamists. They try to take our guns. They destroy the morals through indoctrination and evil. The Government aids and abets the evil for fear of “losing a vote”. God has been kicked out. We are living the demise of Christianity in America through ignorance and deceit.

  • fred

    How deep thinking are some folks amazes me. When Getos were created it was sudden out of the blue in the early morning hours nobody was prepare. One thing the Germans did not want is panic. Every calming effort was made to lure people into acceptance its something only temporary.Jews were not armed , guns were not available. It was in the in 1943-44 that some futile resistance was offered one had nothing to loose. Warsaw was one where in the last days it shows it is loosing life for a price. Most of the towns & cities were surprised by the preparednes of the Germans & locals very little would have been achieved by resistance. It is known in the Czernowitz the Mayor interceded with the Army to allow 20,000 Jews to stay as necessary. Similar Lodz .

    • Ephraim

      If you can get a hold of the book “Treblinka” it goes into the brilliant manipulation of the Nazis to convince Jews that they were going to a better place. It spells out that, rather than passive, many Jews were logical in making the horrible choices. However, after a while, they knew better.

  • Lia

    Thank you, Mr Daniels for the work you and your helpers are doing. You are making the Holocaust graphic to us non-Jews.

  • Alan Chwick

    Though the Holocaust thoroughly disgusts me, I am please to hear that many fought back. The concept of them just walking to their deaths did confound me.

  • PaulaMalka

    This eyewitness account should be retold and not forgotten. Kiddush Hashem The ultimate expression of Sanctifying G-ds Name.

  • basha kline

    A pitiful account of one in six million stories – The loss of just one Jew is an extreme tragedy and the seventy years of living a lie is only now illuminated. Jews have been and will always be a source of strength, finding an inner drive for self-preservation, unlike the muslim glorification and their seeking the revellation of being dead, and taking as many “infidels” along for the ride. Germany in WW11 could not have even comprehended an afterlife with all the attrocities incurred by their hands so by now there cannot be many of them left either, to tell their account of an abominable period in history.

  • There are many examples of heroic rebellion amongst the Jewish victims, in ghettos and in the camps. Surviving itself constituted an act of rebellion. Many examples of revolt in the
    camps, blowing up the crematoria in Birkenau and others…

    Only the ignorant can say that the victims went to the slaughter house like sheep. I urge these ignorant people to do more reading from the vast amount of literature written by survivors: Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, and many others. The situation is unimaginable, it cannot be understood by those who did not experience it. I am 2nd generation survivor.

    • Shalom Annie! I have been writing on The Holocaust for nearly 20 years. I have not begun to comprehend what it was the Jewish People faced. Terror! Horror! Mere words to gratify our sensitivity. They were played out 6,000,000 times on innocent People who knew nothing of the atrocity about to reach them.

  • Sam Harris

    Now how do we fight the turning away of today’s young Jews?

    • Ephraim

      Not just turning away, turning against! How many young (and not so young) Jews bend over backwards to convince the world that their twisted version of ‘progressive thought’ puts them ahead of Jews who care about fellow Jews.