Jews and Other Groups Who Resisted the Nazis: Means, Motivations, and Limitations

Recorded on April 28, 2023, this video features a series of talks and panels from an interdisciplinary, comparative symposium exploring what remains an under-examined topic in the history of World War II and the Holocaust: the multivarious paths through which ordinary men and women resisted the Nazis. While scholarship on the choices, backgrounds, and motivations of perpetrators and collaborators has become quite robust, it is only in recent years that resistance has received growing scholarly scrutiny.

At the one-day symposium, historians and sociologists focused on a variety of locales from Eastern Europe, to France to North Africa to the Netherlands, explored a range of subjects that illuminate distinctive paths of resistance, among both Jews and non-Jews. Through their case studies, they illuminated how factors that include religious community and theology, proximate danger, pre-war political engagement, and social geography could become decisive in the choice and circumstances of resistance.

Co-sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Center for Jewish Studies, Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, and the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, the symposium was coordinated by Dr. Ethan Katz, Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies and 2022-2023 Matrix Faculty Fellow.

Welcome & Introduction (starts at 0:12)

  • Ethan Katz (UC Berkeley History & Center for Jewish Studies)

Panel: Religion and Resistance (starts at 12:31)

  • Robert Braun (UC Berkeley, Sociology & Center for Jewish Studies), “Religion and the Protection of Jews During the Holocaust: Evidence from the Netherlands”
  • Johanna Lehr (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), “Biblical resistance and the Reinvention of French Judaism Under the Occupation”
  • Moderator: Deena Aranoff (Graduate Theological Union, Jewish Studies)

Second Panel: Structures of Resistance (starts at 1:49:55)

  • Rachel Einwohner (Purdue University, Sociology), “Certain-Risk Activism: Risk, Threat, and Participation in Jewish Resistance in Warsaw and Vilna”
  • Ethan Katz (UC Berkeley, History & Jewish Studies), “Paths of Resistance in Algiers: Family and Community as Decisive Factors”
  • Sarah Farmer (UC-Irvine, History), “Resistance and Rescue: Hidden Jews in Rural France”
  • Moderator: Alma Heckman (UC Santa Cruz, History & Jewish Studies)

Concluding Roundtable (starts at 3:44:16)

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