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Hope and Honor: Jewish Resistance in the Ghettos of Warsaw, Vilna, and Łódź – Rachel L. Einwohner
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States + Google Map
Most popular accounts of the Holocaust depict Jewish people as passive victims who went to their deaths “like sheep.” A common question is, “Why didn’t they resist?” In this talk, I ask the opposite question: Why did Jewish people resist? I pose the question this way because from the perspective of theory and research on social movements, collective Jewish resistance should not have happened. By comparing resistance efforts in the ghettos of Nazi-occupied Warsaw, Vilna, and Łódź, I argue that decisions about resistance rested on ghetto residents’ assessments of the threats facing them, and somewhat ironically, armed resistance took place only once activists reached the critical conclusion that they had no hope for survival.
Rachel L. Einwohner is a political sociologist who studies social movements. Her research focuses on the dynamics of protest and resistance and her interests include questions related to protest emergence and effectiveness, the role of gender and other identities in protest dynamics, protesters’ sense of efficacy, and the creation of solidarity in diverse movements. She has explored these topics with theoretically-driven analyses of a diverse set of movements and cases of protest, including the U.S. animal rights movement, the college-based anti-sweatshop movement, and Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. She is also part of an interdisciplinary research team that is using Twitter data to examine diversity and inclusion in contemporary social movements. Her published work has appeared in journals such as the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, and Mobilization and has received funding from the NSF and the NEH. Her latest book, Hope and Honor: Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust (Oxford University Press, 2022) examines the efforts to create resistance movements in the Jewish ghettos of Nazi-occupied Warsaw, Vilna, and Łódź. She has also co-edited two volumes: The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Women’s Social Movement Activism (with Holly J. McCammon, Verta Taylor, and Jo Reger; Oxford University Press, 2017) and Identity Work in Social Movements (with Jo Reger and Daniel J. Myers; University of Minnesota Press, 2008). She recently served as the Chair of the Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements in the American Sociological Association.
Thursday, April 27, 2023 • 314 Royce • 2 PM
Rachel L. Einwohner (Purdue University)
Moderator: Todd S. Presner (UCLA)
Hope and Honor: Jewish Resistance in the Ghettos of Warsaw, Vilna, and Łódź
Michael and Irene Ross Program in Yiddish Studies