What Was The Resistance Movement What Did They Do

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thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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On April 5th, something odd happened at the Buchenwald camp. The prisoners were gathered in their block waiting for the German officers to conduct the head count. However, the officer in charge was late, and two hours later all Jews were ordered to congregate in the Appelplatz.

The children in Eliezer’s block obliged, but as they made their way to the destination, they met another group of prisoners. The prisoners asked them to go back to their block because the Germans planned to shoot them. As they were heading back, they learned that the underground movement had decided to rescue the Jews from liquidation.

The next day, a roll call was carried out, and the prisoners were informed that the camp would be liquidated. Prisoners would be evacuated from ten blocks each day until the entire camp was completely evacuated. The evacuation started immediately, and thousands of prisoners left Buchenwald.

Days later, the prisoners remaining were estimated at twenty thousand, and the SS decided to evacuate them together. However, it was too late because of the approaching American forces. The evacuation was postponed to the next day. In the morning, German officers took their positions, but as they directed the prisoners to the Appelplatz, the resistance movement launched an attack from within. They were able to overpower the SS, who were forced to flee.

The resistance movement was possibly a group of political prisoners in the camp. This group avoided detection and sabotaged Nazi activities. When the opportunity presented itself, they successfully launched an attack and led to the liberation of the remaining prisoners.

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readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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While Elie was in Buchenwald, he learned that there was a resistance movement. There were a number of Jews who were able to pass a non-Jews. They organized and were waiting for the right movement to attack. 

Elie recounts that there was a announcement that all the prisoners should go to the Appelplatz. This was where Elie thought that Hitler would keep his promise of killing all the prisoners. As he was going, he met some people from the resistance who told him to go back.

We returned to the block. On our way there, we learned that the underground resistance of the camp had made the decision not to abandon the Jews and to prevent their liquidation.

As it was getting late and the confusion was great—countless Jews had been passing as non-Jews—the Lagerälteste had decided that a general roll call would take place the next day. Everybody would have to be present.

After a while, Elie says that the resistance decide that it was time to attack. When the SS soliders came in, presumably to kill everyone, the resistance came out with guns and grenades. Eventually the resistance movement was able to push out the German troops. This was when an American tank came into the camp. Finally, freedom arrived for Elie and his fellow Jews. 

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ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The resistance in the concentration camps was made up of people who were political prisoners, some Jews who had been able to pass for non-Jews and people who tried to undermine the stability and order in the camps.  Near the end of the Nazi reign of power Elie was in the "children's block" and all prisoners were given orders to report for a prisoner count.  He, as well as other Jews, was told not to report as ordered but to go back to his block. They were told that the Germans were trying to kill everyone before the camp was taken over by the American troops.  This saved Elie's life.

"But on the way (to the assembly place) we met some prisoners who whispered to us, "Go back to your block. The Germans are going to shoot you.  Go back to your block, and don't move." 

"We learned on the way back to the block that the camp resisance organization had decided not to abandon the Jews and was going to prevent thier being liquidated." (pg 76)

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