The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education is pleased to announce the winners of its 22nd annual White Rose Student Essay Contest. The 2016-2017 contest theme was:
in the Ghettos
The enormity of the Holocaust was such that no victim response to it would have stopped the Germans from implementing genocide. Jews under Nazi control faced various and overwhelming obstacles to effective resistance. Despite this, Jews repeatedly sought to oppose Nazi policy in various ways. While armed uprisings or partisan activities are often held up as examples of successful Jewish resistance, not all resistance was armed. Often the only course of action available was an act of unarmed resistance.
Successful acts of resistance took many forms, ranging from personal acts to preserve dignity; social acts to preserve the community such as organizing clandestine schools, soup kitchens and underground record keeping; political acts such as the sabotage of the German war industry; and eventually, armed uprisings. Nowhere was resistance more robust than in the ghettos where Jews last lived as families and communities and resistance activities occurred amidst extreme conditions and against enormous odds.
Students were asked to describe the goals and obstacles to one specific form of Jewish resistance in the ghettos and to explain how that method was used by one Jewish person or group. They were further asked to reflect on the thoughts of Holocaust historian Lucy Dawidowicz who said, “The wonder is not that there was so little resistance, but that, in the end, there was so much.”