Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Jewish Agency: Not Lambs to Slaughter, but Resisters

In almost a decade of teaching about the Holocaust in a variety of contexts, there is one comment and one question that always seem to be put forth. The one comment is always stated in a brave voice, "I would never have let the Nazis do that to me. I'd fight them." Along those same lines is the question, "Why didn't the Jews fight back?" It is clear that Jews fell victim to Nazi hatred, but it also needs to become clearer that they weren't simply led to slaughter without some resistance.  During the Holocaust, Jews created their own acts of resistance, both violent and non-violent.

The actions of partisans and residents of the Warsaw Ghetto were excellent examples of Jewish violent
"A Hanged Jewish Partisan". Photograph. United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Holocaust Encyclopedia.
20 June 2014. Web. 11 August 2014.
resistance to their almost guaranteed murder. The photograph (right) depicts a hanged Jewish partisan with a sign, translated, stating, "We are partisans and have shot at German soldiers." While the execution of this Jewish partisan is viewed as a loss to the resistance movement, the sign around his neck is one of defiance.  Both the people in the photograph's foreground and the soldiers in the back, as well as others, were witness this bold claim. The photograph makes clear that the partisans were determined to fight against Nazi aggression to preserve their own lives using violent force.

"Bandits Escape to Avoid Capture." Photograph. Yad Vashem.
Resistance in the Ghettos. 2014. Web. 11 August 2014.
In the same way that Jewish partisans used violence to fight the Third Reich, so did the Jews who were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto. Despite being poorly supplied and organized, Jews resisted the Nazis' final effort to transport them to Treblinka. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a failure, but this does not undermine the fact that Jews violently resisted being sent to their deaths. The resistance to die on Nazi terms is captured in the photograph (left). Looking closely at the image, which was taken by a German soldier during the uprising, there is a man jumping from the burning building, right near the second story window. Rather than surrender to the more powerful Nazi forces, some of the resistance fighters chose to take their own lives. While it may appear cowardly to commit suicide, choosing to decide the time and situation of one's death in the face of organized persecution was an example of violently resisting the timeline set out by Hitler's totalitarian regime. Regardless of the fact that both the partisan and the ghetto fighter were victims of the Holocaust, they are also resisters. They are men who had agency and took action to fight against their oppressors.

Grunbaum, Michael or Marietta. "Celebrating Hanukkah".
Painting. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Holocaust Encyclopedia. 20 June 2014. Web. 11 August 2014.
In contrast to the violent actions that some Jewish groups employed, others chose to resist Nazi persecution in non-violent ways. One way that Jews resisted was to celebrate their religious holidays. The painting on the left is a child's depiction of Hanukkah, and the photograph below shows Jews baking matzahs for Passover despite being in hiding. The use of bright colours in the painting demonstrates the hopefulness the child holds that one day he or she will be free from Theresienstadt. Additionally, in the middle ground of the painting, there are many people sitting together enjoying each other's company, illustrating the optimism of family and friends surviving. In the foreground, there is a menorah, which functions as a source of light, and thus, is symbolic of hope that one day the Jews will  be free.

"Baking of Matzahs in Hiding." Photograph. Yad Vashem
"During the War." 2014. Web. 11 August 2014.
In addition to the optimism of the Hanukkah painting, Jews in hiding maintained their holiday traditions despite their dismal circumstances. Upon first looking at this photograph, the woman on the right stands out. She is looking directly at the photographer with a shy smile. Although her freedom was limited, she resisted the Nazi plan to demoralize the Jewish population. Despite the challenging circumstances, she maintains her connection to her religious and cultural traditions. The matzahs in the photograph operate an a symbol of overcoming suffering, as Passover commemorates the Jewish people's freedom from slavery. Baking the Matzahs was a symbolic way for the hiding Jews to express their hope that, like their ancestors, they will one day be free. Both this photograph and the Hanukkah painting demonstrate Jewish non-violent resistance to Nazi persecution. The act of creating art and baking matzahs allowed Jews to have control over their lives and maintain a sense of hope that they would survive.

In essence, it is much too simple to look at Jews as solely victims of the Holocaust and ignore the violent and non-violent acts of resistance they took to fight for freedom and keep their spirits buoyed.

Dissecting the Essay:

1. What do you notice about the title?
2. What is the thesis of the photo essay?
3. What are the sub-topics of the essay? How is the essay organized?
4. What textual elements are used to support the thesis of the essay?
5. What do you notice about the images?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


A recent trend on twitter is the King himself, LeBron James.  During game 1 in a big series, LeBron was forced to leave the court with 4 minutes left in the game to watch his team lose 110-95 to the spurs.  What was his reason to need to leave? #crampsMiami Heat forward LeBron James (6) is helped from the court by guard Mario Chalmers (15), guard Dwyane Wade (3), Erik Spoelstra, front, right, and Rashard Lewis, right rear, during the second half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Thursday, June 5, 2014 in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The stadium played in was super hot due to the air conditioner being broken, so there should be no surprise that one of the hardest working set of legs on the court would be affected.  Leg cramps are a common thing among athletes.  Especially the ones putting in the time and effort like LeBron.  If it was anyone else it probably would not be that big of a deal, but since it was one of the leaders on the court it would not be looked past.  Social media took off in tweets commenting on his weakness of "just having cramps" and comparing him to other great players.  Of course though the tweets did not include the heat conditions, they just focused on questioning the greatness of LeBron.


This Has got to be one of the funniest memes out about LeBron Cramping

Due to social media athletes and famous people now have to deal with a new type of expression by fans.  Not only can fans go and cheer or boo,and send hate or fan mail, but they can also post their views toward this person on social media for all to see, and play off of.  With one person starting the tweets everyone else can see them, especially when they are trending under their name.  Even large name companies like Gatorade got in on the fun tweeting to LeBron it is too bad that he choose to go with another drink because he would not be cramping if he was drinking there stuff.

The hashtag LeBron shows us how fast things can be blown up and start trending on twitter and other social media sites.  LeBron James is an incredible athlete, but because he is viewed so greatly one little slip will not be missed, and with social media it blows up into something way bigger.  No longer is his injury just a small struggle he has to deal with, but they are also causing the questioning of his manly-hood by many.  Social media can take something small and make it huge due to how fast it can spread for everyone to see.  Always be careful what you choose to post on media because if people take interest it could grow to be something way bigger than you expected.    


Basically every Sunday if you go look on Instagram or Twitter you will see #selifesunday. #selfiesunday is where people mostly teenage girls post selfies which is a photo of them self with the hastag selfiesunday. This hastag was created so teens can post more pictures of them self. There really is no point of this hashtag but mainly to show people the selfie they took, because they have nothing better to do Personally I think that this hashtag has no point to it like all the other hashtags out there.Overall #selfiesunday can have some funny pictures or really weird ones it all depends on the person.



In April of 2014 276 Nigerian girls were kidnapped from what is suppose to be a safe place, their school. The girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, an Islamic Jihadist and Takfiri terrorist organization based in northeast Nigeria. This group is opposed to westernization and the education of  women. This terrorist group began to convert these girls to Islam and sell them into marriage. When the girls were located, the Nigerian Chief of Defense Staff did not allow for a forceful rescue in fear of collateral damage. Due to the controversy of how to deal with this situation and bring back the girls home safely, parents and other people around the world displayed their frustration over social media. This was very helpful as many of the mothers did not want to speak publicly during protests to ensure their child was not receiving the punishment. On may 3rd and 4th, many protests were held around the world and at the same time, the hashtag #bringbackourgirls spread globally. The hashtag has become a form of activism in order to pressure America into helping rescue these girls. “We’re being tweeted into combat,” an anonymous military official told CBC News. #bringbackourgirls is putting pressure on both Nigeria as well as other countries the more popular and globalized it becomes. By sending a strong united message over social media, the hashtag could live up to its purpose and change could happen through a push of the "Tweet" to awake global consciousness.  


(Michelle Obama as well as other powerful celebrities posted pictures with this hashtag which increased the use of this hashtag even more.)