The Holocaust unquestionably shattered most normative frameworks and cast the struggle for survival in its starkest form. Yet despite this, the Holocaust did not necessarily lead Jews to act as lone wolves, caring only about their own survival. This volume demonstrates that Jewish solidarity during the Holocaust is a multifaceted, multilayered issue, replete with complexities and shadings that reflect the diversity of Jewishness and Jewish existence, as well as the unprecedented dire situations that challenged it, and while solidarity was not a given and may not have predominated, it did not cease to exist. Instances of Jewish solidarity can be found on different levels—international, national, community, family, and others. Some expressions of solidarity are surprising, such as when a Jewish camp functionary used violence against Jewish inmates in order to prevent much worse violence against them at the hands of the camp authorities. Especially in more limited forms and in not a few situations, acts of solidarity, such as armed resistance or escape to join the partisans, often meant that other Jews who did not take part would probably pay a steep price, which is perhaps why, in general, Jews engaged in such acts only when liquidation appeared to be imminent. The Jewish traditional ideal of “all of Israel is responsible for one another” was expressed in various forms of solidarity during the Holocaust, which deserve to be ascertained, studied, made known, and discussed. This collection of articles sets out to do just that.
Dan Michman is head of the InternationalInstitute for Holocaust Research and holds the John Najmann Chair of Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. He is professor emeritus of modern Jewish history and former incumbent of the Chair of the Arnold and Leona Finkler Institute of Holocaust Research and of the Abraham and Edita Spiegel Family Chair of Holocaust Research, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan. He has published widely on a broad range of topics regarding the Holocaust, its facets, and its impact, especially on its historiography and conceptualization, and on Dutch-Jewish and Belgian-Jewish history. Robert Rozett is a senior historian at the International Institute for Holocaust Research and former director of the libraries at Yad Vashem. He has guided many dignitaries through Yad Vashem over the years and has lectured widely around the world. He serves as the historical adviser to Echoes and Reflections and is a member of Israel’s delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). He has authored and edited scholarly books and essays, and articles for the popular press, primarily about the Holocaust in Hungary, the period of liberation, distortion of the Holocaust, and the historiography of the Holocaust.