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ALEXANDER KIMEL - HOLOCAUST UNDERSTANDING & PREVENTION

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VICITM'S SELF-DESTRUCTION

Written by Alexander Kimel - Holocaust Survivor.

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One of the most controversial and least talked aspect of the is the guilt of the Jewish collaborators, the Judenrat and Jewish Police. To make the life bearable and spread the evenly the sufferings, the Jews accepted the creation of the Jewish Councils (Judenrat) and the Jewish Police. A new social structure was created, a new Jewish aristocracy came to life. At the beginning the Judenrat served as a representative of the Jewish community, trying with bribes and submission to soften the Nazi blows. With the passage of time the Germans imposed new and more brutal demands on the Judenrat: deliverance of young people to labor camps, help in "resettlement". The privileges given to the Judenrat, the power, status, and most important the relative safety based on the exemption from "resettlement" made it impossible for the individual to back out. The slightest sign of insubordination by the Judenrat was punished by death. In many towns the Judenrat refused cooperation, was executed and another group took their place. It is the gradualism and terror that made collaborators out of decent people. With the passing of time the Jewish Police became more corrupt, cynical and brutal.

"Jewish policemen also distinguished themselves with their fearful corruption and immorality. But they reached the height of viciousness during the resettlement. They said not a single word of protest against this revolting assignment to lead their own brothers to the slaughter. The police were psychologically prepared for the dirty work and executed it thoroughly. How could Jews have dragged women and children, the old and the sick, to the wagons, knowing they were all being driven to the slaughter? ...For the most part, the Jewish police showed an incomprehensible brutality. Where did Jews get such murderous violence? When in our history did we ever before raise so many hundreds of killers, capable of snatching children of the streets, throwing them on the wagons, dragging them to the Umschlagplatz? ...Merciless and violent, they beat those who tried to resist...The weren't content simply to overcome resistance, but with the utmost severity punished the "criminals" who refused to go to their death voluntarily".
The collaborators were not evil asocial people, who found pleasure in inflicting pain, nor were they sadistic fascist, they were ordinary people who by accident became part of the group, and were gradually given power and taught brutality.
"There were groups that cooperated with the Germans: the police, the Judenrat. I am not or the opinion that all those who took part in these groups were traitors and that all those who participated in these activities were concerned only about their own safety. And neither do I believe that those who cooperated with these institutions were motivated by malice. But from a strictly objective point of view, all these institutions were converted into instruments of evil, aiding the Germans in rounding up Jews for the concentration camps...for death. Leading all Judenrat, filling orders, defrauding, and accepting the decisions of the Germans. The Jewish police equally defrauded seizing Jews for the slave labor camps, forcing them into the dreaded trains of destruction, assisting in the wiping out of the Ghetto."
In Warsaw the President of the Judenrat Czerniakow, cooperated with the German authorities until he was ordered to compile daily lists of Jews destined for resettlement. Knowing with resettlement meant he refused and committed suicide.

"The first victim of the deportation decree was the President Adam Czerniakow, who committed suicide by poison in the Judenrat Building. He perpetuated his name by his death more than by his life. His end proves conclusively that he worked and strove for the good of people; that he wanted its welfare and continuity even though not everything done in his name was praiseworthy."

The Nazis regime appealed to the lowest instincts of men. First of all it divided the victims into two categories: the privileged and the powerless. It made oppressors out of the privileged, giving them power of life and death over the powerless. The privileged were the Kapos, camp functionaries, Judenrat, Jewish Police, etc. It delegated a lot of power to the privileged in exchange for blind obedience and cooperation in oppression. It took a lot of integrity not to be corroded with the power, under the life threatening conditions. In the long run all the privileged met their end.


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