The expression that the Jews in World War II went like sheep to the slaughter, is that true?
And the answer is why talk about the Jews? Didn’t the French in World War II go like sheep to the slaughter? The French prepared beforehand a Maginot Line. Now this line contained all the technology of modern warfare. There were deep trenches. There were weapons of warfare. And they were trained in defending these installations. And yet, when Hitler came it was like it didn’t exist. He went through it like nobody’s business and the French just yielded like sheep before the wolf. So the French also went like sheep to the slaughter. Not only the Jews. Everybody did. It’s only because the world has an attitude of trying to belittle the Jews so the Jews are pointed out. It’s a silly thing that’s used by American people to belittle the Jews. Now, I don’t wish it on American Jews but if they were in the same situation, they wouldn’t have been a bit better.
What happened to the Polish army? The Polish are big ba’alei ga’avah, big show offs. They were proud of their national prowess. When the time came it was nothing. The Polish army melted away with all the soldiers and tanks. It melted away. It was nothing. It became nothing.
The Jews didn’t have any tanks; they didn’t have any soldiers. What do you expect of them? What could they do? If the Jews would have fought back, not one would have remained. Who remained of the Warsaw Ghetto? Nobody. Who said it was such a smart thing to make a revolt? It’s only foolish people, sensationalists, who talk about the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. It’s as silly as could be. If they hadn’t made the uprising, a lot of Jews would have remained. Jews remained all over. Wherever Hitler went, Jews remained. Of course not enough but the fact that they fought back meant it was a death sentence.
The chachmei haTorah didn’t say fight back because after all the Germans were not that thorough. A lot of Jews escaped. But when they started fighting back then the Germans brought all their tanks and all their flamethrowers and they wiped out all the Jews. So going like sheep is not a foolish tactic. When you have no alternative, the best thing is not to fight. And our forefathers understood this. They didn’t fight against the nations. They sought to placate the nations.
And by the way it was one of the biggest mistakes when before World War II the Jews made a boycott against Germany. It enraged the Germans. Had they followed the advice of our sages at that time they would have bribed Hitler’s lieutenants. You know Hitler’s lieutenants were mercenary people. You could buy them. You could send things to them secretly. They would have pocketed a lot of money but they would have let a lot of Jews out. The story would have been different. And so this bravado, this false heroism of fighting back and being killed like a hero is not the way chosen by Jews. We believe it’s better to live not like a hero than to die like a hero.
There is a lot of false propaganda that’s extant today but the truth is like the Chinese say: “Who is a hero? The one who remains alive.”
TAPE # 361 (June 1981)