Seventy-two years ago last night, November 9-10, 1938, Kristallnacht occurred throughout Germany and parts of Austria. Just over four years later the holocaust had killed millions of Jews when the Warsaw Ghetto uprising began on January 18, 1943 and ended on May 16, 1943. All of the Jews in the uprising died but they made the Nazis pay a price for their death and they, not the Nazis, determined how they were going to die. They died fighting.
The 2001 television docudrama, Uprising, about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, is available on DVD. Netflix doesn’t carry it (I guess Jews defending themselves doesn’t fit the narrative).
If more German Jews had guns the history of the holocaust would be much different. In this review of Uprising, David Kopel writes that 2,000 years of Jewish passivity came to an end in the Warsaw Ghetto:
The Warsaw battle had begun on Passover, and like the first Passover, the Warsaw resistance led directly to the establishment of a Jewish state. Without the fighting spirit that was rekindled by the Warsaw ghetto revolt, it is doubtful that the Jews would have prevailed when Arabs attacked them the moment the state of Israel was proclaimed.
The Jewish commander of the uprising was a 24-year-old schoolteacher named Mordechai Anielewicz. On April 23, 1943, he wrote a letter from Warsaw to a friend named Yitzhak, explaining what was happening. Here is one paragraph from that letter:
From this evening, we are switching to a system of guerilla action. At night, three of our units go out on two missions: an armed reconnaissance patrol and the acquisition of weapons. Know that the pistol has no value, we practically don’t use it. We need grenades, rifles, machine guns, and explosives.
The entire letter is reproduced in this review of Uprising.