Like sheep to the slaughter

"Like sheep to the slaughter" (Hebrew: כצאן לטבח‎) is a phrase which refers to the idea that Jews went passively to their deaths during the Holocaust. It derives from a similar phrase in the Hebrew Bible which positively depicts martyrdom in both the Jewish and Christian religious traditions. Opposition to the phrase became associated with Jewish nationalism due to its use in Josippon and by Jewish self-defense groups after the 1903 Kishinev pogrom. During the Holocaust, Abba Kovner and other Jewish resistance leaders used the phrase to exhort Jews to fight back. In postwar Israel, most Holocaust survivors were demonized as having gone "like sheep to the slaughter" while armed resistance was glorified. The phrase was taken to mean that Jews had not tried to save their own lives, and consequently were partly responsible for their own suffering and death. This myth, which has become less prominent over time, is frequently criticized by historians, theologians, and survivors as a form of victim blaming.



In Isaiah 53, a chapter in the Hebrew Bible,[1][2] a virtuous servant is murdered but does not protest: "Like a sheep being led to the slaughter or a lamb that is silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7). His silence is praised because there was no "deceit in his mouth" (Isaiah 53:9). However, Rabbi Abraham Heschel pointed out that the context is more ambiguous, because Isaiah himself protests against God's punishment of the Jewish people.[1] In Psalm 44, the martyrdom of Jewish people persecuted for their religion is presented positively: “Nay, but for Thy sake are we killed all the day; / We are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered” (Psalms 44:23).[3][4] Jewish liturgy uses the phrase in Tachanun, a prayer derived from Psalm 44, which is traditionally recited each Monday and Thursday in the Shacharis (morning prayers):

Look from heaven and perceive that we have become an object of scorn and derision among the nations; we are regarded as the sheep led to slaughter, to be killed, destroyed, beaten, and humiliated. But despite all this we have not forgotten Your Name—we beg You not to forget us.[5]

In Christianity, the phrase was interpreted as the virtue of meekness, related to Jesus allowing himself to be crucified; Jesus was symbolized as the Lamb of God. Presbyterian theologian Albert Barnes wrote that "the fact that [Jesus] did not open his mouth in complaint was therefore the more remarkable, and made the merit of his sufferings the greater". He considered that Isaiah 53 was prophetic typology which had been "fulfilled in the life of the Lord Jesus", a typology which would be continued as part of Christian interpretations of the Holocaust.[6]

The Hebrew phrase in the Bible, "like sheep to be slaughtered" (כְּצֹאן טִבְחָה, ke-tson le-tivhah) is distinct from the later variant, "like sheep to (the) slaughter" (כצאן לטבח, ke-tson la-tevah).[7]


The inverse of the phrase, contrary to what had been previously believed, was coined by the writer of the 10th century Jewish history Josippon, which quoted Mattathias, a leader of the Maccabean Revolt, as having said, "Be strong and let us be strengthened and let us die fighting and not die as sheep led to slaughter".[8][9] In a different context, the phrase was used by United States founder George Washington in 1783 to warn of the dangers of removing the right to freedom of speech: "the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter".[10][11]

The inversion of the phrase was revived by Jewish self-defense leagues in the Russian Empire in the wake of the 1903 Kishinev pogrom, although it remained rare compared to other imagery of victimization.[12] In reference to the pogrom, the New York Times reported that "The Jews were taken wholly unaware and slaughtered like sheep".[13] Yosef Haim Brenner's Hebrew novella Around the Point featured a protagonist who asked, "Were the Jews like sheep to be slaughtered?" but immediately rejected the idea. By 1910, the second version of the phrase, invented in Josippon, was more commonly used.[14] In a 1920 article titled "Will They Make Jerusalem into a Kishinev?" Zalman Shazar, later the third president of Israel, argued against negotiating with the British Mandatory Palestine authorities because "The brothers of the Tel Hai heroes will not be led as sheep to slaughter."[15]

In Yizkor, a 1911 book memorializing Jews killed by Arabs, the inverse was attributed to Ya'akov Plotkin, the leader of a Jewish self-defense organization in the Ukraine, who had immigrated to Palestine and was killed during the intercommunal conflict in Palestine. According to Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, later Israel's second president, Plotkin had previously used the phrase in regard to defense against the pogroms in the Russian Empire. The book was widely read among Zionists in Eastern Europe. Yael Feldman suggests that this is the probable source for the verbiage employed by Abba Kovner in his declaration of 1 January 1942.[16]

In the Holocaust context

During the Holocaust

During the Holocaust, Abba Kovner was the first to use the phrase as a call for action in a 1 January 1942 pamphlet[10] in which he argued that "Hitler is plotting the annihilation of European Jewry".[9] Kovner urged the Jews in the Vilna Ghetto to resist the Germans:[10][17]

We will not be led like sheep to slaughter. True we are weak and helpless, but the only response to the murders is revolt. Brethren, it is better to die fighting like free men than to live at the mercy of the murderers. Arise, Arise with last breath.

— Abba Kovner, Let us not go like sheep to the slaughter!

Instead of viewing the Jews as sheep, Kovner instead attempted "to cause a rebellion against the very use of that term", according to Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer.[18][19] In a speech that Kovner gave to members of the Palmach after arriving in Israel in October 1945, he denied that he had said that Holocaust victims had gone "like sheep to the slaughter", instead attributing that interpretation to non-Jews, such as a Soviet partisan commissar. Kovner also said that “All and everyone did go like this!” including Soviet prisoners of war, Nazi collaborators killed by their former allies, and Polish officers.[20]

The pamphlet was smuggled to other ghettos where it inspired similar calls for resistance.[21] In the Kraków Ghetto, Dolek Liebeskind said, "For three lines in history that will be written about the youth who fought and did not go like sheep to the slaughter it is even worth dying."[21] During the Grossaktion Warsaw, the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto beginning 22 July 1942, Jewish archivist Emanuel Ringelblum criticized the brutality of the Jewish Ghetto Police during roundups and the passivity of the Jewish masses. Ringelblum asked "why have we allowed ourselves to be led like sheep to the slaughter" and concluded that Jews were ashamed and disgraced because their "docility" did not save their lives. He concluded that the only option was armed resistance, even as a symbolic gesture.[22]

After the war

In Israel

In the immediate postwar period in Israel, survivors who had not fought with the partisans were stigmatized for having allegedly gone like sheep to the slaughter.[23][24] In response, some child survivors pretended to be sabras (native Israelis), and other survivors never mentioned their experience.[25] Armed resistance was glorified, partly because the establishment of the State of Israel also required armed conflict.[26] For example, the most popular textbook for elementary school students devoted 60% of its Holocaust coverage to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.[27] In contrast, other reactions to the Holocaust were demonized:[26] one textbook approved by the Ministry of Education read that "the heroic stand of the Ghetto Jews also compensated for the humiliating surrender of those led to the death camps" and that Holocaust victims had gone "as sheep to the slaughter".[27]

British historian Tom Lawson argues that the idea of Jewish passivity during the Holocaust confirmed stereotypes of diaspora Jews held by the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine, which contributed to their ascendance.[28] Israeli historian Yechiam Weitz argues that the "sheep to slaughter" trope "insinuat[es] that millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust did not measure up" and, if they had fought back, Jewish national honor would have been preserved.[29] Israeli historian Idit Zertal writes that Holocaust survivors were blamed for not choosing Zionism in time.[29]

Israeli historian Hanna Yablonka criticizes this perception, arguing that Holocaust survivors shaped Israeli memory.[29] Feldman describes the myth as deriving from traditional European antisemitic stereotypes of Jews as "the dishonorable antithesis of all the "virile" qualities deemed necessary by modern nationalism".[30] An alternate explanation, advanced by Israeli historian Tom Segev, is that the sheep metaphor enabled Israelis to downplay the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust as a defense mechanism against cultural trauma.[31] Initially, little was known about the Holocaust, leading to over-generalization.[26] According to the just world hypothesis, Holocaust victims and survivors must have done something to deserve their fate.[32]

Kovner's speech of October 1945 was not available to the public for four decades, and many falsely attributed the accusation against Israeli Holocaust survivors to him.[33] Disturbed by this, Kovner said in 1947 that one who had not witnessed the events of the Holocaust could not use the phrase appropriately; "like sheep to the slaughter" meant something different in Israel than it had in the Vilna Ghetto in 1942.[34] Meanwhile, he continued to claim authorship of the inversion of the statement despite the previous precedent.[33]

The Israeli attitude towards Holocaust survivors was revolutionized by the highly publicized trial of Adolf Eichmann, a key Holocaust perpetrator, in Jerusalem. During the trial, prosecutor Gideon Hausner went beyond proving Eichmann's guilt.[35] He attempted to educate Israelis about Nazi crimes[36] and "assumed the role of defense attorney for the dead and the living Jewish people" and called many survivors as witnesses.[35] The public questioned whether resistance was an option for the masses, and the activity of rescue groups such as the Aid and Rescue Committee was viewed in a more positive light. Public opinion shifted to blaming the perpetrators exclusively. Revisionist Zionist poet Uri Zvi Greenberg said, "It is a crime to say that, in the time of Hitler, Diaspora Jewry could have gone to their deaths differently." The Labor Zionist writer Haim Guri wrote,

We should ask forgiveness from countless numbers for having judged them in our hearts.. .We often generalized categorically and arbitrarily that these poor souls [went to their deaths] "as sheep to the slaughter." Now we know better.[37]

Outside of Israel

After the war, the passivity of Jewish Holocaust victims and survivors was reinforced by photographs of liberated Nazi concentration camps depicting emaciated survivors. Because Nazi propaganda films were often the only source of footage, their use in postwar documentaries supported the idea of Jewish passivity, as did the iconic Warsaw Ghetto boy photograph. The claim that Jewish concentration camp prisoners were more passive than non-Jewish prisoners often obscured historical fact, such as the fact that six of the seven uprisings in concentration or death camps were launched by Jews.[38]

Survivor and psychologist Viktor Frankl wrote a bestselling book in 1946, Man's Search for Meaning, based on his own experiences, in which he claimed that a positive attitude was essential to surviving the camps. Consequently, he implied that those who died had given up. Historians have concluded that there was little connection between attitude and survival.[39] In 1960, Jewish psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim claimed that "Like lemmings, [millions] marched themselves to their own death" and that Anne Frank and her family were partly to blame for not owning firearms.[40][17] In his 1961 book The Destruction of the European Jews, historian Raul Hilberg characterized Jewish resistance as an extremely marginal phenomenon. However, he evaluated the resistance solely by the number of Germans killed.[17][41] Instead, he argued that Jews had "speeded the process of destruction" by obedience to German orders conditioned by the passivity of Jewish diaspora culture. In the 1985 edition, Hilberg quoted Ringelblum to support this argument.[42]

Hannah Arendt explicitly rejected the idea that Jewish victims had gone "like sheep to the slaughter", because all victims of Nazi persecution had behaved similarly. She argued that Bettelheim expected that Jews would somehow divine Nazi intentions more than other victims and privately criticized Hilberg for "babbl[ing] about a 'death wish' of the Jews".[43] Although she criticized Israeli prosecutor Gideon Hausner for asking survivors why they had not resisted,[43][44] she also described Jews as obeying Nazi orders with "submissive meekness" and "arriving on time at the transportation points, walking under their own power to the places of execution, digging their own graves, undressing and making neat piles of their clothing, and lying down side by side to be shot", a characterization which American Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt found "disturbing". Instead, Arendt blamed the Judenrat for allegedly collaborating with the Nazis, an assessment that is not commonly accepted today.[44] Despite her more nuanced portrayal, her arguments in Eichmann in Jerusalem were equated with those of Hilberg and Bettelheim and harshly criticized.[45]

After the first three decades, the trope became less of a driving force in Holocaust historiography, according to Lawson.[28] However, Richard Middleton-Kaplan cites the 2010 film The Debt, about a Nazi war criminal who taunts and escapes from his Jewish captors, as a recent example of a work perpetuating the perception that Jews passively acquiesced to their fate, because the Nazi's claims to that effect are not rebutted.[46] Israeli settlers protesting evacuation from the Gaza Strip said "we will not go as sheep to slaughter" which was considered hyperbole.[47]


The phrase became so widespread and widely believed that historians of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust used it as the title of works challenging perceptions of Jewish passivitity.[48] Daniel Goldhagen criticized the "maddening, oft-heard phrase ‘like sheep to slaughter'" as a "misconception" in his blurb on the 1994 book Resistance: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The entry on Jewish resistance in Eastern Europe in the 2001 The Holocaust Encyclopedia opens by debunking the "false assumptions" behind questions such as "Why did the Jews go like sheep to the slaughter?"[49]

Yehuda Bauer has argued that "those who use it are identifying, even unconsciously, with the killers," who denied the humanity of their victims.[19] He notes that "Jews were not sheep. Jews were Jews, Jews were human beings" who were murdered, not slaughtered.[18][19] American sociologist Nechama Tec says that she is frequently asked "Why did Jews go like sheep to the slaughter?" which she describes as "a blatantly false assumption" because the opportunity for resistance was not often present, and many Jews employed creative survival strategies. Tec strongly criticized the idea that "the victims themselves were partly to blame for their own destruction".[17] According to Holocaust historian Peter Hayes, "nothing in the literature on the Shoah is more unseemly than the blame cast by some writers on an almost completely unarmed, isolated, terrified, tortured, and enervated people for allegedly failing to respond adequately".[50]

Survivors including Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi have also criticized the tendency to blame the Jews for their plight during the Holocaust, which Wiesel described as "The height of irony and cruelty: the dead victims needed to be defended, while the killers, dead and alive, were left alone."[51] Psychologist Eva Fogelman argues that the victim-blaming tendency stems from the desire to "avoid confronting the question: What would I have done? And would I have survived?" According to Fogelman, "Blaming the victims not only distorts history; it also perpetuates their victimization."[52]

Rabbi Emil Fackenheim wrote that “the loose talk about ‘sheep to slaughter’ and ‘collaborationist’ Judenräte" is caused by willful ignorance of the facts of the Holocaust because "it is more comfortable to blame the victim".[53] Rabbi Yisrael Rutman argued that the "true meaning" of the phrase is the spiritual strength of Jews who had no opportunity to resist their murder.[11] Rabbi Bernard Rosenberg writes that to understand the fallacy of the "sheep to the slaughter" myth, one must consider the lived experience of survivors who had no opportunity to fight back against their oppressors.[54] Rosenberg argues that survival and the effort to rebuild lives, communities, and the Jewish state after the Holocaust was a form of fighting back, as is preserving Jewish tradition today.[55] Rabbi Shmuley Boteach describes the phrase as a "double insult to the martyred six million" because it both accuses them of cowardice and blames them for their fate.[56]



  1. ^ a b Middleton-Kaplan 2014, pp. 3–4.
  2. ^ Cohen & Mendes-Flohr 2010, p. 369.
  3. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 4.
  4. ^ Feldman 2013, p. 147.
  5. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, pp. 4–5.
  6. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, pp. 5–6.
  7. ^ Feldman 2013, pp. 147, 151.
  8. ^ Feldman 2013, p. 155.
  9. ^ a b Feldman & Bowman 2007.
  10. ^ a b c Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 6.
  11. ^ a b Rutman 2002.
  12. ^ Feldman 2013, pp. 156–157.
  13. ^ Gordis 2010, p. 164.
  14. ^ Feldman 2013, p. 157.
  15. ^ Feldman 2013, p. 158.
  16. ^ Feldman 2013, pp. 143–145.
  17. ^ a b c d Tec 2013.
  18. ^ a b Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 7.
  19. ^ a b c Bauer 1998.
  20. ^ Feldman 2013, pp. 145–146.
  21. ^ a b Middleton-Kaplan 2014, pp. 6–7.
  22. ^ Lawson 2010, pp. 235–236.
  23. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 9.
  24. ^ Bar-On 2004, p. 106.
  25. ^ Bar-On 2004, p. 107.
  26. ^ a b c Yablonka 2003, p. 5.
  27. ^ a b Porat 2004, p. 622.
  28. ^ a b Lawson 2010, p. 236.
  29. ^ a b c Yablonka 2003, p. 10.
  30. ^ Feldman 2013, p. 143.
  31. ^ Bar-On 2004, pp. 107–108.
  32. ^ Bar-On 2004, p. 108.
  33. ^ a b Feldman 2013, p. 146.
  34. ^ Ofer 2000, p. 43.
  35. ^ a b Yablonka 2003, p. 17.
  36. ^ Porat 2004, pp. 623–624.
  37. ^ Yablonka 2003, pp. 17–18.
  38. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 8.
  39. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, pp. 9–10.
  40. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 10.
  41. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 11.
  42. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, pp. 11–12.
  43. ^ a b Lipstadt 2016, p. 53.
  44. ^ a b Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 14.
  45. ^ Lipstadt 2016, p. 54.
  46. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, pp. 24–25.
  47. ^ Feldman 2013, p. 152.
  48. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 15.
  49. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, pp. 22–23.
  50. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 25.
  51. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 17.
  52. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, pp. 21–22.
  53. ^ Middleton-Kaplan 2014, p. 21.
  54. ^ Rosenberg 1999, pp. 18–20.
  55. ^ Rosenberg 1999, pp. 20–21.
  56. ^ Boteach 2014.

Print sources

  • Bar-On, Daniel (2004). "A socially and historically contextualised psychoanalytic perspective: Holocaust survival and suffering". In Prue, Chamberlayne; Joanna, Bornat; Apitzsch, Ursula (eds.). Biographical Methods and Professional Practice: An International Perspective. Policy Press. pp. 101–113. ISBN 9781861344939.
  • Cohen, Arthur A.; Mendes-Flohr, Paul (2010). 20th Century Jewish Religious Thought. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 9780827609716.
  • Feldman, Yael S. (2013). ""Not as Sheep Led to Slaughter"?: On Trauma, Selective Memory, and the Making of Historical Consciousness" (PDF). Jewish Social Studies. 19 (3): 139–169. ISSN 1527-2028.
  • Gordis, Daniel (2010). Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470643907.
  • Lawson, Tom (2010). Debates on the Holocaust. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780719074486.
  • Lipstadt, Deborah E. (2016). Holocaust: An American Understanding. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 9780813564777.
  • Middleton-Kaplan, Richard (2014). "The Myth of Jewish Passivity". In Henry, Patrick (ed.). Jewish Resistance Against the Nazis. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. pp. 3–26. ISBN 9780813225890.
  • Ofer, Dalia (2000). "The Strength of Remembrance: Commemorating the Holocaust during the First Decade of Israel". Jewish Social Studies. 6 (2): 24–55. JSTOR 4467575.
  • Porat, Dan A. (1 October 2004). "From the Scandal to the Holocaust in Israeli Education". Journal of Contemporary History. 39 (4): 619–636. doi:10.1177/0022009404046757. ISSN 0022-0094. JSTOR 141413.
  • Rosenberg, Bernhard H. (1999). "They Went Like Sheep to the Slaughter and Other Myths". In Rosenberg, Bernhard H.; Rozwaski, Chaim Z. (eds.). Contemplating the Holocaust. Jason Aronson. pp. 17–21. ISBN 9780765761118.
  • Yablonka, Hanna (2003). Translated by Moshe, Tlamim. "The Development of Holocaust Consciousness in Israel: The Nuremberg, Kapos, Kastner, and Eichmann Trials". Israel Studies. 8 (3): 1–24. ISSN 1527-201X. JSTOR 0245616.

Web sources

Further reading

  • Finkel, Evgeny (2017). Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival During the Holocaust. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691172576.
Abba Kovner

Abba Kovner (Hebrew: אבא קובנר; March 14, 1918 – September 25, 1987) was a Jewish Hebrew and Yiddish poet, writer and partisan leader. In the Vilna Ghetto, his manifesto (he) was the first time that a target of the Holocaust identified the German plan to murder all Jews. His attempt to organize a ghetto uprising failed, but he fled into the forest, became a Soviet partisan, and survived the war. After the war, Kovner led a secretive organization to take revenge for the Holocaust, and made aliyah in 1947. Considered one of the greatest poets of modern Israel, he received the Israel Prize in 1970.

Fareynikte Partizaner Organizatsye

The Fareynikte Partizaner Organizatsye (Yiddish: פֿאַראײניקטע פּאַרטיזאַנער אָרגאַניזאַציע‎; "United Partisan Organization"; referred to as FPO by its Yiddish initials) was a Jewish resistance organization based in the Vilna Ghetto that organized armed resistance against the Nazis during World War II. The clandestine organisation was established by Communist and Zionist partisans. Their leaders were writer Abba Kovner and Yitzhak Wittenberg.

Jadovno concentration camp

The Jadovno concentration camp was a concentration and extermination camp in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. Commanded by Juco Rukavina, it was the first of twenty-six concentration camps in the NDH during the war. Established in a secluded area about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the town of Gospić, it held thousands of Serbs and Jews over a period of 122 days from May to August 1941. Inmates were usually killed by being pushed into deep ravines located near the camp. Estimates of the number of deaths at Jadovno range from 10,000 to 68,000, mostly Serbs. The camp was closed on 21 August 1941, and the area where it was located was later handed over to the Kingdom of Italy and became part of Italian Zones II and III. Jadvono was replaced by the greater sized Jasenovac concentration camp and its extermination facilities.

The camp site remained unexplored after the war due to the depth of the gorges where bodies were disposed and the fact that some of them had been filled with concrete by Yugoslavia's Communist authorities. Additional sites containing the skeletal remains of camp victims were uncovered in the 1980s. Commemoration ceremonies honouring the victims of the camp have been organized by the Serb National Council (SNV), the Jewish community in Croatia, and local anti-fascists since 2009, and 24 June has since been designated as a "Day of Remembrance of the Jadovno Camp" in Croatia. A monument commemorating those killed in the camp was constructed in 1975 and stood for fifteen years before being removed in 1990. A replica of the original monument was constructed and dedicated in 2010, but disappeared within twenty-four hours of its inauguration.

Jewish resistance in German-occupied Europe

Jewish resistance under the Nazi rule took various forms of organized underground activities conducted against German occupation regimes in Europe by Jews during World War II. According to historian Yehuda Bauer, Jewish resistance was defined as actions that were taken against all laws and actions acted by Germans.The term is particularly connected with the Holocaust and includes a multitude of different social responses by those oppressed, as well as both passive and armed resistance conducted by Jews themselves.

Due to military strength of Nazi Germany and its allies, as well as the administrative system of ghettoization and the hostility of various sections of the civilian population, few Jews were able to effectively resist the Final Solution militarily. Nevertheless, there are many cases of attempts at resistance in one form or another including over a hundred armed Jewish uprisings. Historiographically, the study of Jewish resistance to German rule is considered an important aspect of the study of the Holocaust.


Josippon (Hebrew: ספר יוסיפון Sefer Yosipon) is a chronicle of Jewish history from Adam to the age of Titus believed to have been written by Josippon or Josephus Flavius (Joseph ben Matityahu) or maybe by a medieval Italian Jew called Yosef Ben Gurion. The Ethiopic version of Josippon is recognized as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Lamb to the Slaughter (disambiguation)

Lamb to the Slaughter may refer to:

"Like sheep to the slaughter", a biblical phrase promoting the myth that Jews went passively to their deaths during the Holocaust

"Lamb to the Slaughter", a 1953 short story by Roald Dahl

"Lambs to the Slaughter", a song by Raven from their 1981 album Rock Until You Drop

A Lamb to the Slaughter: An Artist Among the Battlefields, a 1984 book by Jan Montyn and Dirk Ayelt Kooiman, ISBN 0-285-62621-3

"Lamb to the Slaughter", a song by a-ha from their 1993 album Memorial Beach

Lambs to the Slaughter, a 1979 memoir by Australian cricketer Graham Yallop

Oskar Schindler

Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. He is the subject of the 1982 novel Schindler's Ark and its 1993 film adaptation, Schindler's List, which reflected his life as an opportunist initially motivated by profit, who came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity, courage, and dedication to save the lives of his Jewish employees.

Schindler grew up in Svitavy, Moravia, and worked in several trades until he joined the Abwehr, the military intelligence service of Nazi Germany, in 1936. He joined the Nazi Party in 1939. Prior to the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, he collected information on railways and troop movements for the German government. He was arrested for espionage by the Czechoslovak government but was released under the terms of the Munich Agreement in 1938. Schindler continued to collect information for the Nazis, working in Poland in 1939 before the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II. In 1939, Schindler acquired an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland, which employed at the factory's peak in 1944 about 1,750 workers, of whom 1,000 were Jews. His Abwehr connections helped Schindler protect his Jewish workers from deportation and death in the Nazi concentration camps. As time went on, Schindler had to give Nazi officials ever larger bribes and gifts of luxury items obtainable only on the black market to keep his workers safe.

By July 1944, Germany was losing the war; the SS began closing down the easternmost concentration camps and deporting the remaining prisoners westward. Many were killed in Auschwitz and the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. Schindler convinced SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth, commandant of the nearby Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, to allow him to move his factory to Brněnec in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, thus sparing his workers from almost certain death in the gas chambers. Using names provided by Jewish Ghetto Police officer Marcel Goldberg, Göth's secretary Mietek Pemper compiled and typed the list of 1,200 Jews who travelled to Brünnlitz in October 1944. Schindler continued to bribe SS officials to prevent the execution of his workers until the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, by which time he had spent his entire fortune on bribes and black market purchases of supplies for his workers.

Schindler moved to West Germany after the war, where he was supported by assistance payments from Jewish relief organisations. After receiving a partial reimbursement for his wartime expenses, he moved with his wife Emilie to Argentina, where they took up farming. When he went bankrupt in 1958, Schindler left his wife and returned to Germany, where he failed at several business ventures and relied on financial support from Schindlerjuden ("Schindler Jews")—the people whose lives he had saved during the war. He and his wife Emilie were named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1993. He died on 9 October 1974 in Hildesheim, Germany, and was buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, the only member of the Nazi Party to be honoured in this way.

The Holocaust in France

The Holocaust in France refers to the persecution, deportation, and annihilation of Jews and Roma between 1940 and 1944 in occupied France, metropolitan Vichy, and in Vichy-North Africa, during World War II. The persecution began in 1940, and culminated in deportations of Jews from France to concentration camps in Germany and Nazi-occupied Poland from 1942 which lasted until July 1944. Of the 340,000 Jews living in metropolitan/continental France in 1940, more than 75,000 were deported to death camps, where about 72,500 were killed. French Vichy government and the French police participated in the roundup of Jews. Although most deported Jews died, the survival rate of the Jewish population in France was up to 75% which is one of the highest survival rates in Europe.

The Holocaust in Lithuania

The Holocaust in German occupied Lithuania resulted in the near total destruction of Lithuanian (Litvaks) and Polish Jews, living in Generalbezirk Litauen of Reichskommissariat Ostland within the Nazi-controlled Lithuanian SSR. Out of approximately 208,000–210,000 Jews, an estimated 190,000–195,000 were murdered before the end of World War II (wider estimates are sometimes published), most between June and December 1941. More than 95% of Lithuania's Jewish population was massacred over the three-year German occupation — a more complete destruction than befell any other country affected by the Holocaust. Historians attribute this to the massive collaboration in the genocide by the non-Jewish local paramilitaries, though the reasons for this collaboration are still debated. The Holocaust resulted in the largest-ever loss of life in so short a period of time in the history of Lithuania.The events that took place in the western regions of the USSR occupied by Nazi Germany in the first weeks after the German invasion, including Lithuania, marked the sharp intensification of the Holocaust.An important component to the Holocaust in Lithuania was that the occupying Nazi German administration fanned antisemitism by blaming the Soviet regime's recent annexation of Lithuania, a year earlier, on the Jewish community. Another significant factor was the large extent to which the Nazis' design drew upon the physical organization, preparation and execution of their orders by local Lithuanian auxiliaries of the Nazi occupation regime.

The Holocaust in Luxembourg

The Holocaust in Luxembourg refers to the persecution and near-annihilation of the 3,500-strong Jewish population of Luxembourg begun shortly after the start of the German occupation during World War II, when the country was officially incorporated into Nazi Germany. The persecution lasted until October 1941, when the Germans declared the territory to be free of Jews who had been deported to extermination camps and ghettos in Eastern Europe.

The Holocaust in Russia

The Holocaust in Russia refers to the Nazi crimes during the occupation of Russia (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) by Nazi Germany.

The Holocaust in Ukraine

The Holocaust in Ukraine took place in Reichskommissariat Ukraine during the occupation of the Soviet Ukraine by Nazi Germany in World War II. Between 1941 and 1944 more than a million Jews living in Ukrainian SSR were murdered as part of Generalplan Ost and the Final Solution extermination policies.

According to Yale historian Timothy D. Snyder, "the Holocaust is integrally and organically connected to the Vernichtungskrieg, to the war in 1941, and is organically and integrally connected to the attempt to conquer Ukraine."

The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia

The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia refers primarily to the genocide of Jews, but sometimes also include that of Serbs (the "Genocide of the Serbs") and Romani (Porajmos), during World War II within the Independent State of Croatia, a fascist puppet state ruled by the Ustashe regime, that included most of the territory of modern-day Croatia, the whole of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina and the eastern part of Syrmia (Serbia). 90% of Croatian Jews were exterminated in Ustashe-run concentration camps like Jasenovac and others, while a considerable number of Jews were rounded up and turned over by the Ustashe for extermination in Nazi Germany.

The Holocaust in the USSR

The Holocaust in the Soviet Union (USSR) refers to the German persecution of Jews, Roma and homosexuals as part of The Holocaust in World War II.

It may refer to:

The Holocaust in Russia

The Holocaust in Belarus

The Holocaust in UkraineIt may also refer to The Holocaust in the Baltic states, annexed by the Soviet Union before the war:

The Holocaust in Latvia

The Holocaust in Lithuania

The Holocaust in Estonia

Victim blaming

Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them. The study of victimology seeks to mitigate the perception of victims as responsible. There is a greater tendency to blame victims of rape than victims of robbery if victims and perpetrators know each other.

Vilna Ghetto

The Vilna Ghetto was a World War II Jewish ghetto established and operated by Nazi Germany in the city of Vilnius in the territory of Nazi-administered Reichskommissariat Ostland.During the approximately two years of its existence starvation, disease, street executions, maltreatment, and deportations to concentrations and extermination camps reduced the ghetto's population from an estimated 40,000 to zero.

Only several hundred people managed to survive, mostly by hiding in the forests surrounding the city, joining Soviet partisans, or sheltering with sympathetic locals.

Yehuda Bauer

Yehuda Bauer (Hebrew: יהודה באואר; born April 6, 1926) is an Israeli historian and scholar of the Holocaust. He is a professor of Holocaust Studies at the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Yizkor books

Yizkor books are memorial books commemorating a Jewish community destroyed during the Holocaust. The books are published by former residents or landsmanshaft societies as remembrances of homes, people and ways of life lost during World War II. Yizkor books usually focus on a town but may include sections on neighboring smaller communities. Most of these books are written in Yiddish or Hebrew, some also include sections in English or other languages, depending on where they were published. Since the 1990s, many of these books, or sections of them have been translated into English.

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