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Armed Jewish resistance (courtesy

Mr. Farago,

I hope that receipt of this finds you well. I just read Mr. Strugatsky’s guest post “When Ideology Trumps Self-Preservation” regarding what he sees as a tremendous oversight in how the US Holocaust Memorial Museum fails to cover the fact that had European Jewry, and perhaps more specifically German Jewry, been armed that the Holocaust could not have happened or would not have been as successful. I know from the personal/familial history that you’ve relayed on TTAG that this is an intensely and immensely personal issue for you and I’m not looking to pick a fight. However . . .

Mr. Strugatsky’s post provides the impression that the US Holocaust Memorial Museum does not cover Jewish resistance, when it does. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum actually covers the topic of armed Jewish resistance. [Click here and here.] So too does the Yad Vashem in Israel. [Click here.]

While it is true that this resistance came late, mostly after 1942 when it became very, very clear that the Final Solution was NOT simply ethnic cleansing through relocation, but ethnic cleansing through industrial scale extermination, the actual historiography and reality is not as simple as: Jews were disarmed and they couldn’t fight back.

For instance, the ADL issued a statement in 2013 requesting that because the historiography is ambiguous – the original firearms restrictions were put in place by the Weimar Republic, not the NAZIs; it is exceedingly unclear how many of the even assimilated Jewish Germans were firearms owners (a fraction of the 1% of all Jewish Germans).

So it is impossible to figure out if the NAZI recodifications beginning after 1939 were symbolic or not. And just how the reimposed restrictions were carried out; whether in a coordinated, planned surprise event like Kristallnacht a shocked and terrified community that include firearm owners would have been able to actually respond in any meaningful way as event unfolded.

The original guest post provides the erroneous impression that there was no Jewish resistance, when in fact there was significant, if somewhat belated resistance. Moreover, it ignores the fact that even armed, non-Jewish Germans, let alone armed non-Jewish citizens of other European countries, to include their actual armed forces, where unable to stop the NAZIs in one-on-one fights.

The NAZIs created the first real industrial military. Despite limiting party formal party affiliation for several years out of internal security concerns, they managed to mobilize the vast majority of German society either explicitly or implicitly behind their activities (the Goldhagen thesis), and as a result they were able to mobilize the power of the state through force – using all elements of power (diplomatic, informational, military, economic, financial, intelligence, and law enforcement/DIME-FIL) to achieve their ends.

Having a portion of the under 1% of the German citizenry, which is the accepted estimate of Jewish Germans in the 1930s armed and fighting back would not have slowed the NAZIs down for very long. The problem with historical analogies is that they are never perfect and context always matters. An armed population of less than 500,000 out of a total population of 67 million was not going to hold off the NAZIs. While it might have bought time for some to escape or slowed things down a bit, what happened in the 1930s in Germany is not analogous to any arguments over the 2nd Amendment here in the U.S.

Adam L. Silverman

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  1. So according to Adam Silverman they should have just turned in their guns, not fought back and marched to the ovens without giving a fight for their lives. No thanks, Adam, I’d go down fighting whether it was futile or not!!!

    • Yeah I’m not really sure what this guy’s point really is. Yeah, so what if the Jews weren’t able to go all Wolverine and when the day. But I’m really not sure why that should matter.

      • The author did not cover the Warsaw Ghetto at all. A handful of Polish Jews, fighting with WWI old rifles, pistols, IED’s, whatever was available, made a mockery of the German Army for months.

        State of the art, at that time, was the German Battalions. They lost many, many hundreds if not thousands of men at the hands of pissed off Jews.

        I think the article is narrow minded in the context of his “historical analysis”. Read Col. Jeff Cooper on insurgency against standing armies.

        • Don’t forget the spirit of ’76. New England farmers beat, or at least held off, the world’s biggest super power in the world at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. NH and VT militia beat professional mercenaries at Bennington.

          You gotta fight… for the right… TO KEEP AND BEAR!

        • Tom W

          “The author did not cover the Warsaw Ghetto at all”

          Yeah, the Germans just cleared out the ghetto by blowing a whistle. Not. That’s not the armed resistance that you’re looking for. (Kind of like the anti-rights people say that there are no defensive gun uses in the US.) “If we don’t mention it, then maybe it didn’t happen.”

          I hope that the sand stays out of their noses while they’re hiding in the sand.

        • @Tom
          Yep they made a total mockery of the SS, until the SS decided to just burn the ghetto down. Then they all died. Horribly.

          An insurgency works until the occupation force decides on genocide as a course of action. Then the insurgency dies along with everyone else.

        • Hundreds or thousands of dead german soldiers in the 1943 ghetto uprising?

          I think you might wanna read the wikipedia article about the uprising.

          Official german figurea state 16 dead 100+ wounded.
          Even if those are an understatement.
          Casualties weren’t that high and only bought a little time.

          The ghetto uprising shouldnt be confused with the later polish warsaw uprising.

        • “Then they all died. Horribly.”

          Fighting back sounds like a great way to die to me. Sure beats their alternative.

        • “Fighting back sounds like a great way to die to me.”

          Many people in the ghetto died burned alive when the Germans have razed it to the ground by setting the buildings on fire in the end.

        • According to the German records they suffered 101 casualties in the Warsaw uprising. 16 dead, 85 wounded. Hardly thousands. 13,000 Jews were killed in the ghetto during the uprising.

        • The greatest fault with the Jew then , as with the Jew today , is their pride .’This could never happen to us ‘ is the same prideful boast you hear coming from Americans today . Our founding fathers made a covenant with the God of Abraham on bended knee , before they signed the papers establishing this nation , to be a nation in His honor .
          Our prideful boasting , ‘ This will never happen here to us ‘ , will be our undoing . God will turn away His favor and we will surely fall . Pride comes before a fall . If we do not ask the God of Abraham for His providential protection humbly on bended knee we are going to lose everything . Just my humble opinion .

        • in 1938, Hitler repealed many of the gun restrictions for ordinary Germans. if this had occurred sooner, it’s likely that there would have been more civilian attacks on Jews than there were. so this cuts both ways in terms of the fortunes of the Jews in 1930s Germany.

      • Craig is mistaken about “New England farmers beat, or at least held off, the world’s biggest super power in the world at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill”. They did that to Britain, which was not that at all, and then they allied with the world’s biggest super power – France. All Britain was, was the strongest single naval power (though not yet a match for France and Spain together, which is why Britain couldn’t keep access to Yorktown open after a naval defeat) with the healthiest financial system (which is why France was crippled by a Pyrrhic Victory in that war and Britain wasn’t crippled by defeat, despite France actually having more G.D.P. than Britain). Britain actually had one of the weakest armies in Europe, probably even weaker than Holland’s or Sweden’s!

    • That was not his point at all. His point was that the premise of the older article was incorrect. And in that, I agree with Mr. Silverman. The original article was not very well thought out.

    • The plight of the brave Jews that fought back reminded me of Horatius at the Bridge.

      “To every man upon this earth
      Death cometh soon or late. 220
      And how can man die better
      Than facing fearful odds
      For the ashes of his fathers
      And the temples of his gods,

      • Sure they almost all dies in Warsaw but they were forced to spend an entire army doing it and it took a months to get them all. Being armed doesn’t guarantee safety it means that you can choose to make a stand and exact a payment from tyranny in the only coin that counts.

        • The Jew fought from the sewers and storm drains and fought a tactical gorilla style that the German soldier was unaccustomed to . The German soldier was very regimented and often complained amongst themselves that the Americans were also hard to fight for similar reasons . Only at the end of the war , did the German military slightly conform to Gorilla tactics and by then they were mostly a ragtag bunch of old men and boys fighting a gorilla war themselves . Germanys greatest advantage was always their overwhelming superiority in numbers of weapons and weapon technology . The German officers consumed vast amounts of methamphetamines and made many tactical errors , often under the direct order of their drug addicted leader .

    • I disagree with the author. I find the Jewish situation relivent to modern American gun rights. If the Jews had a stronger gun culture than they did it would have been much more difficult to subjugate them. The nazi movement may have been stopped in its infancy if an armed militia large enough made a move.

      I never understand why Jews are still largely anti-gun. Considering the animosity towards them, they should be well armed.

      • Don’t worry. Many of the more conservative factions are better armed. Even among the reform, I know many fellow tribe members who own. However, I do live in fly-over country, so that may have plenty to do with it. I find it fitting that the most vocal anti-gunners AND the most successful pro-gun defenders are part of the tribe (See Michael Bloomberg & Diane Feinstein and contrast them with Alan Gura & Alan Gottlieb). What do you get when you put two Jews in one room? Three opinions.

    • Wouldn’t 500k armed Jews be in the top 10 standing Armies today? I don’t think he made the point I think he wanted to make, unless he is explicitly saying 99% of the German population wanted to murder all the Jews. Facts always get in the way when you already know what you want the answer to be.

    • Maybe next time, Mr. Silverman can voluntarily head to the ovens and distract the guards while the rest of us armed types make our escape so we can regroup and fight another day.

  2. Refutation:

    The problem of insurgencies is organization. The Jews may have struggled with arms, supplies, and logistics, but if every Jew capable of bearing arms did so in a unified fashion, you’d find that they may have had more success. Sometimes all it takes is an organized group making a stand to rally the rest.

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    • It reminds me of when the first plane on 911 crashed and there was confusion about why it happened, then when the second plane crashed it became crystal clear what was going on as it did to the passengers on Flight 93 that then fought against the hijackers. The plane crashed but prevented many other deaths.

      The people in Germany that were being slaughtered thought if they just cooperated things would be ok, but it wasn’t until it was too late that others realized the true peril and took up arms, but by then their lives were sacrificed. Not because their actions were wrong or misguided but because by then circumstances had move them in to position to be murdered. If there had been more like them earlier there would have been more options and at least a greater chance of affecting the outcome.

    • Agree. There were not enough Jewish citizens to make much difference….even if all of them had been armed. The problem is/was organization and lack of a fertile base to support them. Our own revolution was not fought by armed gangs, but by people with militia experience, organized into groups and supported by a significant enough population to sustain operations.

      The lack of organization among the POTG will render us ineffective against armed tyranny. There may be pride and glory available to those who “go down fighting”, but “no war was ever won by some poor dumb bastard dying for his country, but by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” Not to say we should just lay down arms and walk smilingly into death camps, but that we need to take a good hard look at how an armed citizenry of dis-connected and disorganized individuals can pose a serious threat to potential tyrants. Don’t believe for a moment that the majority of law enforcement or military will refuse to oppress the public. And don’t fool yourself into believing the majority of the public will support armed defense of the constitution. Like it or not, we are not the majority, “reasonable people” are.

      Organization and planning cannot be ignored. Otherwise, we are just another armed mob.

      • And by shutting down, hijacking, or otherwise controlling the means by which the majority of Americans communicate, the government can (and will) deny us the ability to organise effectively.

        Or for example; if there are a dozen people within a ten square-mile radius who are strangers to each other, but have the means & will to resist, how will they link up if even attempting to do so is guaranteed to alert an alphabet-agency goon-squad?

        At this point they don’t even need to shut down the phone systems/internet; the federal security apparatus can intercept our communications accurately & with impunity, which will allow them to isolate & preemptively disappear anybody who tries organizing any such armed resistance.
        And the media will dutifully cover a firefight by an isolated freedom-fighter against a government hit-squad as being the actions of a lone, crazed domestic terrorist, because that is the information they’ll have been given.

        While a few decades ago it would’ve been more difficult for them due to there being far greater numbers of CB/ham radio operators & secure(ish) land-lines, they know full well that such old-school methods of communicating are becoming fairly rare; which also makes it easier to listen in & track those who still use them.

        Though we live in the “information age”, no information flows without the say-so of those who control the pumps. And if the pumps are shut off or diverted….. well, we could still smoke signals and semaphore (unless we can’t learn how because wikipedia is down).

        • This is what the JADE HELM exercises were all about. It wasn’t some vast conspiracy to impose martial law. It WAS a set of coordinated exercises to determine the best way to find, disrupt, and eliminate nodes of resistance. The fact that the military now runs such exercises in our own country should scare people a lot more than some conspiracy theory about martial law. They are telling us exactly what they are going to do when the time comes. Social networks and that NSA hub will make it much easier for them to identify leaders and agitators, and they will attempt to root them out before they can build the necessary networks. This won’t end well.

        • Many people on this blog underestimate trememdously the difficulty of resisting a massive government in this era. For the moment, government may not be prepared to endure the bad press of forcefully confiscating firearms, may not be prepared for the backlash of widespread arrests of law-abiding residents, may not be prepared for public defections of police and military pressed into service to engage in urban warfare. But the calculus changes with each passing year. We are the minority position politically, and the anti-gun crowd already outbirths us. If government can be patient, time is on their side.

    • Wiki is about as reliable as Hillary or our BOY King. it is changed daily by random people, most of the time with an agenda to change history. Fact!

      to date i have yet find any entry that is accurate. they are slanted or flat out wrong.

      Wiki is an open source platform. anyone can add anything they want to it.

        • Why bother? So someone else can change it again after he’s done?

          Wikipedia is one those neat ideas in theory that mostly fails in practice. The truly objective encyclopedic page entries are marginally useful.

        • It doesn’t have to be objective or even accurate at any given point of time to be useful: for one thing, you still have all the references, but for a more immediate thing, you can easily check the talk page and the history to see what the controversies are, and research them from there.

  3. Actually it’s entirely relevant. In the event of mass gun confiscation and round-ups the black-rifle sub-culture(a de facto militia) of the United States is armed/trained well enough to take out the cops(easy) and even the federal alphabet soup agencies(not as easy). The US military is an entirely different story; the outcome is not in question. The US military will win every single stand-up fight it gets into with the militia via combined arms, unless the Oath Keepers can convince them to stand down and not fight at all, or better yet, turn on their superiors and arrest the entire chain of command that handed down the unconstitutional orders.

    If the 2nd Amendment had been respected in the 20th Century, every gun shop would have automatics, anti-armor/air shoulder fired missiles, explosives, etc. The militia would stand a chance by swarming the superior equipment, but restricted to mere rifles and the occasional IED the militia has no chance at all against the US military. The outcome here would mirror the outcome of the Warsaw ghetto.

    • It’s worth noting that the current administration does not trust the US military at all, which could partially explain why they keep getting sent everywhere around the world but here. It’s been theorized that the normalization of relations with Cuba is actually because Cuba can provide a 200,000 man disciplined fighting force that’s only about two hours off the coast of the mainland US. Neither Canada or Mexico can manage that. Even China can’t do that.

      • What this means is that tactics have to change. The only way to beat the DC’s standing military is to convince them fight on our side, or at least to stand down. I’m going to say it again – Oath Keepers. It’s the only weapon we have ready access to that actually stands a chance at working.

    • “restricted to mere rifles and the occasional IED the militia has no chance at all against the US military.”

      No chance? Are you telling me that the goat herders in Afghanistan and Iraq have better equipment than the ‘militia’ does here in the US? I think the people would surprise you: at least I hope so.

      • @Shawn F
        “Are you telling me that the goat herders in Afghanistan and Iraq have better equipment than the ‘militia’ does here in the US”

        Yes, those goat herders are better armed and not as comfortable of cowards as WE subjects. They have access to RPGS, and the chemicals they mix for IEDS are not as watered down like the stuff here. The regulations that came out of the horrible act of the Oklahoma City bombing, ruined the fun in making really deep stock dams, for future ranchers and farmers.

        • If you’re slakked into thinking that it can’t happen now, can’t happen here, can’t happen to me, can’t happen again, then your a-hole nieghbors needing jobs (a/k/a your gov’t) will get uppity and try to bury you every time.

    • Yeah, the great power of the US Military. See how well that did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Should have been a push over and the war(s) would be over by Christmas, the first Christmas, with 100% victory. After all, we have rocket-ships, and ultra-tanks; and they are just camel F@ckers and cave monkeys.

      • @BIll
        “See how well that did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Should have been a push over and the war”

        Bill, political correctness was involved and America has not fought a War to win in a long time. An uprising in America would be met with no rules of engagement towards the rebelling citizens by the government paid forces. The Ukrainian Civil War, which is going on at the moment was the first time a government has been cleared by the international community to use heavy weapons on civilians.

        The rebelling citizens would be slaughtered as well as their families, and half of the country would cheer and say they deserved for not bowing to the state. Give the statisit a couple more dollars in EBT and and free wifi, and the government forces would act like the Soviets.

        • I hear this argument made all the time and it is generally not in line with historical norms . In most cases the military will not turn their weapons on the citizenry . They will topple the existing government and entrench their own interest however .
          The most realistic scenario in the future of America is States against States or a National cataclysm providing a need for the White House to declare marshal law and hold the elections .
          Remember one thing always . The United States military is not the pawn of the Queen , King , Czar , dictator , Emperor , or State . It belongs , lock stock and barrel to us .

      • I WAS over by Christmas. The Iraqi military crumbled. The insurgency never stood a chance of actually winning a stand up fight. The most it could do was the occasional pin prick. It had the desired effect – eventually the foreign invaders left because it wasn’t worth staying. if DC had instead decided on genocide Iraq and Afghanistan would have been emptied out into neighboring countries as refugees. Insurgencies work because the occupation force is generally not willing to simply kill everybody it can find.

        Problem – if it’s a homegrown occupation then the occupation force is NEVER going away.

        • “Problem – if it’s a homegrown occupation then the occupation force is NEVER going away.”

          That cuts both ways. A homegrown insurgency won’t ever go away, either. And the more draconian the occupation becomes to deal with the insurgents, the more the fence-sitters tend to support the resistance. Insurgents don’t have to outfight. They just have to outlast.

      • @Bill
        “See how well that did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Should have been a push over and the war”

        Bill, political correctness was involved and America has not fought a War to win in a long time. An uprising in America would be met with no rules of engagement towards the rebelling citizens by the government paid forces. The State would justify this use of force by stating the State is too big to fail, even if it is known as corrupt from the top down. The Ukrainian Civil War, which is going on at the moment was the first time a government has been cleared by the international community to use heavy weapons on civilians.

        The rebelling citizens would be slaughtered as well as their families, and half of the country would cheer and say they deserved for not bowing to the state. Give the statisit a couple more dollars in EBT and and free wifi, and the government forces would act like the Soviets.

    • I get your point, but under what circumstances would a ‘militia’ fight a pitched battle against the Military? That is the problem/advantage with insurgencies, there is seldom an opportunity to line up and utilize the vastly superior armaments, commo, air power, etc.

      • If your superior enemy can beat you with his game, don’t play his game. Iraq and Afghanistan, they insurgents don’t have to win, they just have to draw it out.

        • The Vietnamese did the same thing. Lots of guerrilla action followed by a large battle at Bien Dien Phu when they were on more even terms.

        • Very true. The only real successful counter-insurgences were the Brits in Malaya and the Filipinos against the Huks. However, both successes took over ten years.

        • Insurgency is not a matter of bravado and bullets. Insurgency can last only as long as the central government refuses to annihilate and utterly wipe-out the insurgents. Attempting to “put down” a revolution allows the rebels to re-generate and return. While the American experience may be interesting, it is unique in that two formal armies agreed to a peaceful cease-fire, and the culture of the day restrained the loser from engaging in eternal partisan warfare; not an example to hope for elsewhere. The Roman experience with Carthage is a more viable example of how to deal with an armed nuisance.

          The original premise of the article is being lost…fighting back with extremely limited manpower, against a government that was willing to exterminate its enemies regardless of cost may be honorable, but it is just mind-bogglingly stupid to believe a disorganized rabble can overthrow a determined state. Especially a state where the majority do not support the rabble. And the point of the insurgency is not to engage endlessly in destruction, but to overthrow the government and take over control. Braggadocio does not win the day. We may be an armed society, but we are up against the evil of the left. Once that evil is loosed, there will be no rules, no quarter, no tolerance for long-term irritation. It is dangerous to underestimate how good a government can be at turning the majority of a society against its own.

          The lack of weapons among the Jews of middle Europe did not assist the resistance to the Nazis, but that was not the premier cause….disorganization provided the most effective barrier.

          And keep in mind….the guards at all the prison camps were vastly outnumbered by the prisoners. Yet there was only two mass break-outs; Sobibor and Triblenka. About 150 prisoners succeeded in excaping. Even the Germans were amazed that so many thousands of Untermench allowed themselves to be corralled by so few camp officials.

        • A large part of the Nazi method was to isolate the Jews and beat them down morally, so that resistance was not an option in their thinking. The German civilians and even the soldiers did not know what was happening, although many surely suspected. Open resistance from the beginning would have interrupted this strategy of secrecy. We cannot say how much of an effect that would have had, but the Nazis were certainly concerned with the secrecy of their deeds.

    • Americans are much better armed and American “black rifle culture” is a greater percentage if the population than what jews made up in Germany. Jews made up less than 1% of the country in Germany, but there are more privately owned guns than people in America. there are a LOT of pro-2a’ers out here. It’s hard to know how things would play out. There have been many examples of rebels armed only with small arms and rudimentary ordinance putting enormous hurt on dedicated militaries with planes/helicopters/tanks/bombs. Syria is one example. Isis vs Iraqi Army, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Mexico, etc are others. And that’s just what is going on presently or extremely recently. Guerilla forces that can blend in with a population are difficult adversaries.

      The arguments being presented are fairly convoluted and rely on several premises so it is hard to even respond other than to say I wouldn’t count out millions of armed guerillas in a fight against a govt that has some degree of ROE. In a Guerilla Civil war in America, if the Guerillas were determined the govt would have to burn cities and kill tens of millions of non-combatants to take out large portions of the resistance. Whereas the counterinsurgency has to expose itself to snipers, ied’s, etc more than the Guerillas do, if the Guerillas can blend in with the local populace, it would suck hard for both sides.

      The situation is not that analogous to 1930’s Germany because of the sheer amount of guns in civilian hands, the idealogies at hand, and the demographics.

      • We wouldn’t necessarily be fighting these types of insurgencies . If you think we can win an all out war with small arms , fertilizer bombs , Malakoff cocktails and dynamite , well , there’s a bridge for sale in Timbuktu .The citizenry will need to hold onto two to five top strategic military bases and the weapons on them along with the commanding officers attached as well as at least two major Air force bases and preferably 50% of our strategic air power . I would estimate there would be at last 60% of the top officer corp would stand with the people and a majority of civilian law .

        • You can’t even spell the name of the resistance weapons you speak of. How should we trust your “estimates” of the ethics of the officer corps of the US military?

          PS: Molotov Cocktails, not Malakoff

    • Your assuming that the bulk of the military will actually fight against fellow Americans. Sure, some will, but a lot wont. How effective will that drone be if all the guys that know how to load its armaments have defected? How many houses will that tank destroy when the truck drivers that carry the spare shells have joined the citizens? How many soldiers will continue to fight when they don’t have decent food because the cooks have left?

      Half armed, poorly fed, unmotivated, soldiers in dirty clothes full of holes, don’t fight long or hard, especially when they may be asked to kill their own families…….

    • You are under the impression that the militia would fight fair. The smaller group is stealthier, faster. Sneak in, wait till you see who salutes who. Take your shot and scramble.

      Also, keep in mind it is much easier to divide a military when they are fighting against their own.

      • It won’t be the US military it will be dirty un peacekeepers….. and it would be ugly but I am pretty sure we could slaughter them….

        • don’t forget they have done many drills with others nations on US soil with copies of US cities for civilian unrest. including Russia and China.

          ever notice the BOY in the WH has done nothing to China or Russia even when they break all our trade deals, money and labor laws while manipulatin currencies. Both countries ignore treaties and International LAW, but he keep giving them everything they want. they have both ATTACKED the USA many times in Cyber Warfare…. actual real attacks that are an act of war by both nations. but he does nothing. breaking treaties and stealing secrets is an act of WAR. but he does nothing.

          If there is a CW, Russia and China will be the army we fight with USA/Stolen by our King resources to back them. most of our troops will become militia but without all those resources.

          it will be bloody.

    • So the writer is making the point that 1% of a population armed isn’t enough for any appreciable effect.

      Duly noted.

      The U.S. is 47%. Looks like we’re good to go.

  4. I don’t think fighting for survival needs to be based on effectiveness against overwhelming opposition. You fight to protect what you care about regardless of outcome. Besides guerrilla tactics can be demoralizing and disruptive to the enemy.

  5. While his general thesis that 500,000 would not have stopped the Nazi’s is certainly true, what about the resistance in the Warsaw ghetto when the Nazi’s wanted to liquidate it? The Jews had something like 6 firearms TOTAL when they opened their resistance. Through their determined resistance they took many German guns and used them against the enemy. They fought on for over a month. If not for the Red Army parking their tanks it is quite possible that the Jews fierce resistance could have enabled them to see freedom. To bad Stalin saw the Jews as his enemy and indeed wanted them destroyed along with any Wehrmacht they could take with them. Men are what make the resistance. Guns are simply the most effective means of meeting force with force.

      • Of course bullets will not stop fire. What is your point? Are you upset that the Jews stopped the vaunted Wehrmacht with a couple pistols, shotguns and one rifle?

        • That if all you against a mechanized military is men, then ultimately what you have is something to grease their treads.

        • So, the Nazi’s fighting the three other largest powers in the world could afford to spare a corps against maybe 300 Jews?
          How well have the two last world superpowers with mechanized infantry fared against the backward Afgans?
          Does your post respond in any way to the facts that a couple hundred determined men forced the German army to completely change it’s game plan?
          Does your post recognize that the point of my original post was to state that the author of the thread was essentially wrong? Do you think the Jews had no hope and should have just rolled over for their Nazi overlords???
          Do men fire guns or do the guns fire themselves?

          And thank you for your illuminating insight. I do realize that fire is not stopped by a flying bullet. Yes the “Jews may have greased the tread.” We should thank God that they gave us an example of how noble men may die in defense of their God given freedom.

        • You don’t win by dying Joey, you win by KILLING.

          In our situation the only actual chance we have against DC’s standing army is to convince them to sit it out or even help us out. That’s reality. And luckily, it looks like as many as half can be convinced to do that. Which just leaves the other half. And the UN blue helmets.

          Oath Keepers. Our greatest weapon is a bunch of guys that have geared up to refuse to follow orders. Spread the word.

    • >> If not for the Red Army parking their tanks it is quite possible that the Jews fierce resistance could have enabled them to see freedom. To bad Stalin saw the Jews as his enemy and indeed wanted them destroyed along with any Wehrmacht they could take with them.

      You’re confusing Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 with Warsaw Uprising of 1944 by the Polish resistance. The former happened in April-May 1943, when German forces were still occupying large parts of the USSR (the Battle of Kursk, which decisively turned the tide of the war on the Eastern Front, and after which Soviets attacked and Germans retreated for the rest of the war, happened in July-August 1943).

      Warsaw Uprising of 1944, on the other hand, happened when Soviet forces were literally across the river, and could have intervened to help, but did not. It was largely fought by Poles, though, with very few Jews involved (several hundred prisoners rescued from the concentration camp in what was the Warsaw Ghetto before its uprising, vs several tens of thousands of fighters overall).

      The reason why Soviets didn’t get involved is not quite so simple, either. There are good reasons to believe that Stalin wanted AK to lose hard so as to weaken it and allow the pro-communist Polish forces (Armia Ludowa) to come to the forefront in their stead, making it easier to deal with Poland after the war. But at the same time, for Soviets to rush into well-fortified Warsaw would mean heavy losses for them, and the city was simply not strategically valuable at that point. Furthermore, the uprising was not coordinated with the Soviets, and the resistance leaders went with their original plan instead of trying to coordinate because they hoped to play a decisive role in the liberation, and didn’t want Soviets to claim the lead (and hence the title of liberators). So basically, Stalin let the Poles shoot themselves in the foot, and then waited calmly for them to bleed out.

  6. An armed population of less than 500,000 out of a total population of 67 million was not going to hold off the NAZIs.

    That all depends on their armament, tactics, and determination as well as the force that they were facing.

    That event also serves as a horrific warning to all future generations: when a government starts rounding up people, even under the guise of relocating them, that government no longer respects their fundamental rights … and a government that no longer respects the rights of its people are fully capable of trying to exterminate them.

    Look at it this way. Violent home invaders have no regard for your life. Whether or not they have plans to kill you is neither here nor there. The fact that they have no regard for your life is all the information — and justification — you need to respond to their aggression. Whether those home invaders are scumbags from the ‘hood or government agents doesn’t matter.

    So, the fundamental mistake that the Jews made in Germany was hoping for “fair” or “good” treatment from a government that made it crystal clear that they would not treat the Jews “fair” or “good”. It absolutely sucks beyond words to be in that situation. All you can do is take as many of them with you as possible. And maybe, just maybe, if it becomes painful enough for the thugs, they will lose the will to continue their extermination.

    • On a different vein, a Jew armed with a rifle would not be wise to stand up against an advancing German tank. Use your tools to maximum effect. Hide from the tank … and take out the rear guard infantry column. Or better yet, poison the invaders’ water supply at night when no one is paying attention.

      • “On a different vein, a Jew armed with a rifle would not be wise to stand up against an advancing German tank. Use your tools to maximum effect.”

        Shoot the officers.

      • @uncommon
        “and a government that no longer respects the rights of its people then they are fully capable of trying to exterminate them.”

        If the Jews could have read everyday about how much the other inhabitants of their country hated them and their individual beliefs, do you think the Jews would have waited for the relocation efforts?

        It is an organized effort or nothing at all, which means WE just get to watch and see what are country digresses to. I ‘ll continue to pay my taxes like a good subject.

      • You can look at what Soviet partisans did on occupied territories for an example. Most of it was hit-and-run on supply lines: taking out couriers, blowing up trains and bridges, raiding and burning down food stores and such. Also, taking out higher-ranked officials in the occupation administration, as well as prominent civilian collaborators with the same.

        They were eventually able to take German forces head on in the second half of the war, but that was after their numbers were in hundreds of thousands, and they’ve got heavy weaponry from Soviet government.

  7. I agree with Mr. Silverman.

    What happened in Nazi Germany after Hitler came to power was so overwhelming that no one, including many of the Germans, could believe what was happening. By the time German Jews realized that they were being systematically exterminated, it was to late. Many of them, if not most, were already in concentration camps. Once Hitler went after all of his neighbors and started putting their Jewish populations into the boxcars on the way to their deaths, then some real uprisings occurred. The Polish Jews in the Warsaw ghetto fought the Germans to a standstill from January to April 1943. When they started that fight, they only had handguns, nine rifles, two land mines and one submachinegun.

  8. I’m interested in the extent of the armed jewish resistance. The links provided did not work.

    The photo for this article shows people with Russian weapons. I see DP-28 and PPS-43 style weapons which strongly hints that they only resisted AFTER the Russians liberated them.

    As with any arguments of whether or not armed defense is worthwhile (is an American more likely to have their gun turned on them by a criminal than to actually succeed in defending themselves against a criminal) it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that even if armed self-defense isn’t fruitful, being as that it’s your own life, you should be able to have the option.

  9. Silverman is among the very best and deserves to be read carefully, so check the usual wheelbarrow of TTAG butthurt at the door before jumping to conclusions about what you think he is or isn’t advocating. I’m a German and American who happens to recognize Silverman from years of coming across his excellent analysis on defense-related blogs. He is literally the definition of Armed Intelligensia, and trying to do you a favor. His Weimar information is something I find myself having to relay all the time to my fellow gun owners here in Texas, who think Hitler first disarmed the Jews and was thus able to kill them, and that therefore they make a great historical analogy to employ on anti-gunners. Well, no.

    Silverman is arguing historically against this specific contention from here (don’t know why Farago didn’t actually link it):
    “none of the unspeakable atrocities would have happened had the people to be exterminated been armed”

    This is obviously false as Silverman says. Jews would have been exterminated either way. To argue that is to speak from total ignorance about just how Germany operated under the Nazis. It was quite literally a death machine. If the Jews had been able to survive the Nazis then the Poles alone would have been able to blow them over with a feather. Killing Jews was one of the top – if not the top – priority for Nazis. Full stop.

    The original article Silverman is refuting then goes on to clumsily lambast Jews for lacking a sufficient survival instinct – an idea offensive to its core and just as ignorant as the last, for all of the reasons given above. And probably what provoked Silverman to try and elevate the discourse, such as it is, around here.

    Silverman then goes on to say that the experience of Jews does not relate to our 2A debate. This is true: the usual “the Jews weren’t armed, therefore they were all rounded up and killed” is simply correlation and not causation. It is not an effective argument. This may be impossible for many American gun owners to wrap your minds around, as it seems Hitler and the Jews are a foundational part of the worldview here.

    The problem isn’t that the concept of armed self-defense itself is not sound. The problem is that *employing the Holocaust as a counterfactual* is not sound. That’s it. Silverman understands very well the effectiveness of a well-armed population against a central government. Check the 2A butthurt at the door – that’s not what he’s arguing.

  10. The problem was not gun control and I appreciate Mr. Silverman’s pointing that out. I probably disagree on some of his other points though. The truth is that many Jews were somewhat compliant w/ the Nazi regime early on. Many left Germany and just left their property behind or sold it as basement prices. They did turn on other Jews early on and herded themselves into box cars.

    If the Jews, Gypsies, and disaffected German folk had fought early on, like right after Kristallnacht, it would have made things much more difficult. I do not accept %1 as the percentage of Jews in Germany, but even if it was it was higher in other surrounding nations. Couple that w/ other disaffected groups and you could reach or come close to the magical %10 number necessary for a successful insurgency.

  11. “what happened in the 1930s in Germany is not analogous to any arguments over the 2nd Amendment here in the U.S.

    Adam L. Silverman”

    It seems he is very clear in his conclusion; having an armed population to push-back to retain liberty and against tyranny is a waste of time in the US.

    • No, he is saying having too few, unorganized armed resistors was the problem for the Jews, not the laws that “disarmed” the public. Too few Jews in the nation, who, had they been fully armed…all of then, would not have stopped the Nazis. Too few resistors to defeat the enemy, not weapons restrictions. And those resistors who did died valiant, but fruitless deaths.

      • More importantly, Jews didn’t really focus on themselves being Jews. As far as they were concerned, at least many of them, considered themselves as German citizens first and foremost. When they started receiving second-class treatment on account of their Jewish ancestry, it took a while before there was any consolidation in opposition to that.

        And, of course, no-one wants to start an uprising if they think they can weather through. An armed revolt, if unsuccessful (and it clearly couldn’t have been successful, given the numbers), is certain death. The other option seemed like it gave a pretty decent chance of survival. Remember, no-one in a sane mind could think that extermination camps for literally millions of people is something that was possible in that day and age in Europe. It took Nazis to actually prove the contrary (and even then they tried to hide their activities, and we learned the true extent of it only after the war).

        • Herman Wouk (Caine Mutiny, Winds of War, War and Rememberance) coined the phrase “The will not to believe.” Even faced with overwhelming and immediate fact, the mind refuses to believe what is happening, as if refusal to believe will make for a viable alternate reality. Very powerful human flaw. The gun-grabbers demonstrate the same “Will not to believe” when it comes to facts (actually, it is part of the mental illness called “liberalism/progressiveism”).

    • gssnyder,

      That’s not what I’m arguing either implicitly or explicitly. As I indicated below in my reply to Ralph I’m making only two points:
      1) The US Holocaust Memorial Museum does actually address the issue of armed resistance by both Jews and other partisans against the NAZIs
      2) The context in Germany between the World Wars is simply too dissimilar to use it to make an argument by analogy regarding the meaning, intent, and/or application of the 2nd Amendment.

  12. The Warsaw Ghetto stopped several German Divisions and thru a massive wrench into Hitlers plans for the Eastern Front. This is a historical fact.

    Mr Silverman is ignorant and naive.

    • Fact of resistance, yes. Fact of delaying the inevitable, yes. Fact of death of thousands of Nazis, yes. Fact of elimination of virtually all the Jews, yes. Fact resistance defeated the Nazis, no.

      Too few Jews, even if all were armed to the teeth. Glorious death is still death. Numbers matter, but unorganized numbers are simply piles of numbers.

    • No, the SS deployed about 2000 men against the uprising in the ghetto. All of them were police or auxiliary (in the rear with the gear units), the jews fought valiantly and in the end lasted less than a month.

      • Yes and no….The SS was assigned to eliminate the jews in the Ghetto, and they did so with massive destruction. However, what should have been a cakewalk thru off the Wehrmacht’s timetable and thus delayed several German divisions from deploying. Which is probably not the same as saying, “tied up” in the same sense that Tito did in Yugoslavia.

  13. We’ll never know how a well-armed Jewish population might have defended themselves because the Jewish population was unarmed.

    However, judging by how well a small Jewish country in the Middle East, surrounded by deadly and fanatical enemies, has been able to survive, I’m going out on a limb here and say that Adam Silverman is a self-loathing Jew who is full of sh1t.

    • Ralph,

      I’m not particularly observant, but other than that not sure what drives the self loathing comment. Honestly I sent this to RF and did not expect it to go up as a guest post – not that I have an issue with it. Basically it was to clarify two things. The first and obvious one is that the US Holocaust Memorial Museum does in fact deal with the issue of armed Jewish resistance. The second was that the context matters: less than 1% of the population, with no real tradition of firearms ownership and usage in a society where it had been generally discouraged since the end of WW I under the Weimar Republic when the initial restrictions started going into place is simply not analogous to the US where the most recent estimates are more than 1 firearm for every US citizen, even if only a plurality of American citizens and resident foreign nationals are the actual firearm owners. Context does matter. I do not, and I stress not, disagree with your description of Israel’s military successes, but I do think you are arguing two different things. Here’s why: Even before Israel was a state, when it was just the Yishuv (The Settlement for the non Hebrew speakers here), the emerging government made a concerted effort to organize formal defensive cadres that would be able to undertake an asymmetric and irregular campaign against both the British and the Arabs as necessary. The largest and most normalized was the Haganah, though both the Irgun and Lehi/The Stern Gang also engaged in direct, irregular action. At the formation of the State of Israel the Haganah quickly became the nascent IDF and absorbed a good chunk of the Irgun and what was left of Lehi was suppressed. In each subsequent action and activity – 56, 67, 73, 81, 96-97, 2006, and last year – the Israelis are a formal, regularized, and professional military fighting against either other formal, regularized, and professional militaries or against well organized militias such as Hamas or Hezbollah. This is simply not analogous to what Jewish Germans faced in the 1930s. As I wrote in the original post: the organized militaries in a number of European countries were unable to withstand the NAZIs, given that what chance did a portion of 1% of the population have? This is not an argument that they shouldn’t necessarily have tried. It is, however, a recognition of the actual historical reality at the time. I hope this allays some of your concerns.

      • I see your point.

        We as the people of the gun are in a different setting there are 360 M guns in circulation or thereabouts this is enough private guns to cover 100% of the population in the u.s. at this number it becomes a issue of organization to stand down tyranny not so much avaluable firepower concerns

  14. I am not a Jew, and the term “Jewry” might be perfectly acceptable, but whenever I hear or read it I immediately think, “Great, another Nazi spouting antisemitism.” Am I wrong? Do I need to google the word? Or is it ok for someone named “Silverman” to use it… like when a black person uses the word “nigger”?

    Also, I apologize if that last sentence came off as racist (another term I have trouble with, but that’s for a different rant), it was not meant to be.

      • Ok, just did… it still sounds offensive to me. But I guess if it is ok with everyone else, I will attempt to unknot my panties and move along. Sorry folks, nothing to see here.

        • Timmy,

          Its a standard and acceptable term for Jews as the group of adherents to Judaism. No need to feel any concern over using it.


        • It’s mainly because of its heavy use in anti-semitic propaganda, usually as part of the term “international Jewry” – google that one and you’ll see that it’s used pretty much only in that manner. Soviets also used it in 1970-80s. I suspect that quite a few people heard the word first in that context, and so have the same association as you.

        • On a related note, I was talking to a girl in Indiana at one point, and when she asked my religion, I said “Jew.” She got all offended, and said, “Don’t use that word, it’s derogatory.” Lets just say that I never spoke to her again.

        • >> On a related note, I was talking to a girl in Indiana at one point, and when she asked my religion, I said “Jew.” She got all offended, and said, “Don’t use that word, it’s derogatory.”

          Was she an immigrant, by chance? The word, or its cognates, is derogatory (to Jews) in some other languages – for example, Russian “Zhid”.

    • Not the point at all. Silverman is acknowledging the reality of the situation. Too few resistors to make a difference, not lack of weapons. The Jews needed an uprising of the German population, not less than a fraction of one percent.

  15. Chief Judge Kozinski, 9th Circuit, dissent in Silveira v Lockyer:

    All too many of the other great tragedies of history — Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few — were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. See Kleinfeld Dissent at 578-579. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.

    My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

    Kozinski is a refugee from Communist Romania, and has seen first-hand the results of disarming a population.

    In any case, this discussion seems to minimize the importance of the partisan resistance groups in Europe – but it was immense. Nobody says you have to, or should, confront the military head-on.

    As for the ADL, they are mostly reliable on facts, but are extreme left on gun control.

    • It was not partisan bands, or even partisan “armies” who defeated the Germans. It was the combined professional armies of the allies who defeated the Germans. Organized, well-equipped, well-trained, disciplined national armies.

      Silverman is asking us to get the cause right…numbers and organization, not simply firearms. Tyrants do not simply tremble at the thought of armed resistance. Mao and Stalin merely slaughtered them faster than the resistance could replace losses. The only dictators who fear the citizens are westerners who still retain some conscience regarding the amount of brutality they are willing to inflict to overcome the resistance. Our only hope here, should it come to that, is the government would accept that the slaughter of 10million, million people (gun owners) could not be accomplished while holding the rest of the population in check. Once someone decides that the loss of 10million or more would be beneficial to the remainder, the fight will be violent, short, and brutal.

      • And ironically, the most efficient partisan troops in that war were Soviet partisans, and that was because they received material support from, and were partially organized by, the Soviet state (to the extent that they even had a Partisan Chief of Staff as part of their High Command by 1942, and regularly flew in partisan field commanders for planning meetings). The only ones I can think of that approached them in efficiency were Yugoslavian partisans, and these guys actually did it on their own, which is pretty badass. Everywhere else, though, from France to Poland, you mostly saw token resistance, mostly inefficient, and fairly easily crushed when it tried to kick into higher gear.

  16. Oy vey! No the Jewish folks couldn’t have stopped the nazi menace-so what? They would have conquered the world if they weren’t so evil and led by a madman.Killing/poisoning/kidnapping/torturing a few hundred thousand would have put the fear of GOD into the Germans. I approve even being a Schmidt on mom’s side too. Look carefully at the result of not stopping/limiting evil in the mideast and now across Europe. And the very country responsible for Jewish and millions of other deaths and misery is welcoming Muslims with open arms-NO Jewish person should EVER be anti-gun or 2A Mr. Silverman…

  17. When I stood under the guard towers at Birkenau to explain to SHOOTING GALLERY viewers why I believed so deeply in the Second Amendment, I read a portion of this poem that formed the script for Alan Renais’ NIGHT AND FOG documentary…

    Nine million dead haunt this landscape.
    Who is on the look-out from this strange watch-tower
    To warn us of our new executioners’ arrival?

    There are those who look at these ruins today
    As though the monster were dead and buried beneath them.
    Those who take hope again as the image fades
    As though there were a cure for the scourge of these camps.
    Those who pretend all this happened only once,
    At a certain time and in a certain place.
    Those who refuse to look around them,
    Deaf to the endless cry.

    Just a thought…

    Michael B

    • Good to see you on TTAG! I am a fan of your shows-especially Shooting Gallery. Nice work on the Israeli Defense Industry! Don’t be a stranger…

  18. “none of the unspeakable atrocities would have happened had the people to be exterminated been armed”

    The primary argument in the original article is deeply flawed. In the battle of France the combined French/British forces consisted of 3.3 Million armed men, 13,974 artillery pieces, 3,383 tanks and 2,935 aircraft. The Wehrmacht rolled through them in 6 weeks. Please explain to me how 500,000 geographically dispersed people armed with small arms and no support from the general populace stood any chance?

    The Nazis were evil, not idiots, they did not broadcast their intentions towards the Jews in public. Therefore, the Jews had no idea that the Germans were going to exterminate them, so the Nazis were able to pick them off one by one. Its, not like the SS showed up at every Jewish families door and announced: “Hello we are here to take you to an extermination camp where you and your whole family will die horribly.” Once, it was clear that extermination was the objective, it was already too late. There was no chance for coordinated action.

  19. I have to disagree with some of Mr. Silverman’s assertions. No one is suggesting that a few thousand lightly armed Jews could have stopped the Nazi war machine. However, anti-Semitism in Germany was turning violent in the 1920’s. My point was that instead of hiding from the bullies, they should have been stopped by force early on. Bullies understand only force; not stopping a bully by force is the same as enabling him. Further, the Nazi war machine was in fact very weak in the beginning. Yes, the German tanks rolled into Warsaw and over the Polish forces, who’s main transport was a horse. A little known fact – when the German’s rolled into Warsaw, their tanks and aircraft had no more fuel remaining. Only because of the deal with Stalin, who took over the other half of Poland, did the Germans achieve their victory; their tanks (which in 1939 were vulnerable to machine guns) would have been overrun and destroyed by the Polish cavalry. The point being is that Hitler’s adventures were often very much on an edge and it was only after the fall of France that German military became a solid machine.
    But the main point was not speculation of alternative futures, but the fact that I found it offensive that this museum devoted absolutely minimum space to the recognition of the heroes that chose to die fighting instead of being slaughtered as animals. As to the applicability to the Second Amendment issues in the US, with the country in a headlong dive into a socialist abyss (and fascism is just another form of socialism), time will show. For my part, whether effective or not, I prefer to go down fighting…

    • Alexander,

      The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has both a dedicated portion of their exhibits to both the armed resistance to the NAZIs as well as to the Righteous Gentiles who, at great risk to their and their families own lives and wellbeing, both overtly and covertly took action on behalf of Jews and other targeted groups during WW II and the Holocaust. I am sorry if it didn’t jump out at you or make a bigger impression, but its there. Also, for disclosure: I have NO connection whatsoever to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.


      • Adam, I agree with you that the references are there, and I did note that, but after being there twice, I walked away with a feeling that something is missing. So, yes, it is mentioned, but [in my opinion] minimally. As to the hypothesis that an armed resistance to the brownshirt bullies early on, in the late ’20’s, could have had a significant effect, I do not seem to recall at all. Again, if the motto is “never again,” presumably something must be done in the present to affect the future. That part seems to be left to the State, without question. Considering how well the State has protected Jews throughout all of recorded history, having blind faith that this (or similar) cannot possibly ever happen in the US is rather short sighted, don’t you agree?

        • Alexander,

          I can only speak for myself to answer your question and I’m of mixed mind, so to speak. Overall, I am not arguing against a right to self defense or ignoring, as a religious minority, that what the majority giveth it can also take away. Basically my views are a mix of both positive and negative libertarianism or, perhaps more accurately positive and negative classical liberalism. Most of us are familiar with the latter, negative form: the least intrusive state possible in regards to individual liberty and rights. The positive is something that I think we do not discuss enough and that all too often too many of us take for granted. In the correct concern that the state not become so strong as to overwhelm individual’s rights and liberties, we often forget the flip side that the state still has to be powerful enough to ensure them. The devil in the details here, as in so many things, is the fine tuning. I also think we too often forget that the Constitution makes clear that our rights come with the responsibility for self government. Or perhaps we just take it for granted or ignore it when the self government leads to an outcome we don’t necessarily agree with. I hope that did justice to your question, but its late where I’m at and I’m not sure I’m remotely coherent anymore. Have a good night.

        • Adam, we can dispute the effectiveness of armed resistance to bullies, brownshirts and oppressive government (am I being redundant?), but one thing that I would hope should not be disputed is the moral part – dying while fighting for one’s freedom is always preferable to being slaughtered. If nothing else, the Museum owes that message to the new generations, in memory of the fallen heroes and those that were slaughtered.

          I should also note that judging by the comments to your and my posts, among others, this country has a very obvious disconnect between the Government and the People. We are on a very dangerous course and history does not bode well for us.

        • >> As to the hypothesis that an armed resistance to the brownshirt bullies early on, in the late ’20’s, could have had a significant effect,

          But there was armed resistance to the brownshirt bullies in the 20s! Communists and socialists clashed with Nazis in the streets, quite often with guns employed on both sides and numerous bodies afterwards, all the way through the 20s and up to the elections that put NSDAP in a position of power. Indeed, that’s precisely why SA was created in the first place – to counter left-wing paramilitaries.

        • And as in most leftist countries (Germany was ruled by National Socialists), the government turned on the element that put them in power….the SS destroyed the SA. In the end, leftists always end up attacking their own.

  20. My own history is intertwined here. My father’s family were mostly German and Austrian Jews. The vast majority escaped because they already had family in the US who were willing and able to sponsor them. No one in the early to mid 30s would have imagined Germany attempting to murder its Jewish minority. Its something that would have been more likely a French project. My grandmother came to the US in to get away from her family in Vienna. My Grandfather arrived in 1929 after closing down the currency exchange business he ran with his brother in Hamburg. His brother went back to Switzerland and he came to the US because they feared the Communists would take over. A little bit survived into the 1960s, there were places in New York City were you could get Viennese Pastries and at least two Newspapers, one of which Aufbau, survived until around 2005 or so.

    That said, the true value of the Guerrilla was not to engage the enemy in direct combat but to blow up infrastructure and tie down divisions.

    My lesson from this part of history is to always oppose those who scapegoat minorities.

  21. I think many of my fellow gun right supporters on this site need to study up in the Holocaust a bit. Specifically how the nazis carried out such a horrendous, unthinkable genocide. The nazis didn’t come running into the Jewish quarters of the lands they conquered yelling “get in the cattle car so we can ship you to the ovens of Auschwitz, so you can be gassed and burned alive.” The nazis convincedly lied about what was happening. Effective propaganda ruled the day. They Told the Jews to pack their bags, take their important items and get on the trains to be relocated. Armed or not many Jews decided the safe decision was to get on the train and hope to ride out the war. No one, and I mean no one would imagine what was happening at the end of the line. No one could imagine such autrocities and genocide. It was not until 1942-3 when word came back about what was going on that the Jews that were left knew what was waiting for them. When faced with a choice of trying to take on a massive war machine or taking the nazis word that they are just being ‘relocated’, many Jews felt it was conceivably safer to be relocated. In their mind, they got to be with family, which was most important. Things could be replaced. Lives couldn’t. Never could they perceive that they would get off the train and the young able bodied men would go to the left and the women, children and elderly would go the right … into the gas chambers. How do I know this, well, many have written about it, but I know it because my father was there and he has told me first hand how this all went down in Slovakia. Thankfully my grandfather and grandmother did not get on those trains. Instinct told them otherwise and they listened to the instinct. I am here today because of that instinct. I wish I could say the same for the dozens and dozens of my family members that perished at the hands of nazis. So many cousins that would never be. If Jews had more guns they could has caused more trouble, but they would have never been able to stop the German war machine and the final solution. While I will never give up my firearms, I tire of the whole “if the Jews had guns, hitler would have failed” argument.

    • No one serious is saying the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened if Jews had been armed. Like you said, the Nazis cleverly psychologically manipulated their victims and misled them to their own murders. But when it gets to the point where the Nazi collaborators are begging for the Jews to hand over their own children and elders to be murdered (Chaim Rumkowski, Nazi-appointed leader of the Łódź Ghetto, 1942, where over 200,000 Jews were reduced to a few hundred), followed the next day by a lockdown with a comprehensive house-by-house seizure of people, it’s obvious what’s going on and resistance is appealing if there is the means to make it feasible. Of course people didn’t believe, but in November 1941 when a little girl crawled out alive from under her mother beneath a pile of bodies in a Ponar death pit and walked stunned back to the Vilna Ghetto and reported the fate of all of those who had been “transported”, she sparked steadfast commitment to resistance that lead to the survival of innocent people and the death of many of the Nazi’s murderous executioners. The subsequent call to arms and cries of “Let us not go like lambs to the slaughter!” would have been less pathetic had there actually been arms to take up. But at least the fighting spirit was cultivated, and that alone gave life.

    • I agree mostly with your comments but what I mainly took to the synoptic bank was the statement about instinct .
      Always follow your instincts , these are primordial warnings given by our creator . Whether you believe in God or you don’t does not seem to effect our gut instincts . To often we let our intellect , or the desire for all things to be good , to cloud our judgments of what is literally directly in front of us to see , and keep us from preparing ourselves for poor or even catastrophic outcomes . Katrina was a perfect 21st century example of this human behavior . Trust your instincts and prepare for those possible outcomes .
      If you have ever hunted deer or any big game , actually anything , you will have witnessed this behavior in all animals . A deer will instantly know you are watching it and usually act quickly on it’s instinct and bolt . Coyotes are keenly aware of your presence , not by smell or because they can visibly see you but because they sense you . I have noted on many occasions how a buck will calm down if I can get my mind off of the kill . You may think I’m a nut but I know other hunters who have experienced what I’m saying .
      Humans have lost a lot of their innate instinctive gifts by being so dependent upon technology and modern life .
      Are your instincts telling you anything now ? Is your gut churning a little when you see the state of world politics and economics or the current state of moral degradation ? Don’t let your families lesson go unheeded .

  22. Even if only 10% of the Jews in Germany had been armed, that’s 50,000 armed insurgents. The Taliban have been keeping us running around Afghanistan for 15 years with a fraction of that at any one time (This is not to belittle the skill of US and ISAF personnel, I’m aware of the difficulties of COIN). The Troubles in N. Ireland lasted for almost half a century and the IRA never had more than 200 active members at a time.

    The Jews died because they were passive, and what little resistance there was, was much less than there was potential for, and much too late.

    • The reason the VC, NVA and other insurgent forces win is because we are not willing to do this:

      When was the last time you heard from/of the nation of Carthage?

      Americans have great difficulty in waging total war. It means destroy, devastate, annihilate, wipe-out, remove from existence. We always want survivors we can convert to our ideas of a legitimate nation. If we would decide that the purpose of waging war is to obliterate the enemy, our wars would have different endings. No survivors, no prisoners. When the options are you win utterly, or the enemy will continue to damage you, clear and convincing outcomes are the result. The Germans had no problem obliterating their enemies. There were no Jewish survivors to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. 50,000 Jewish rebels employing small arms would not defeat the Nazis, no matter how long they waged set piece battles, or partisan attacks.

  23. Even in todays modern world, most battles come down to boots on the ground which means small arms on the ground. That is why our modern armies are training for urban environments, buildings, houses, streets and alleyways.

    Certainly wholesale bombing or incineration can often take a specific piece of territory but it is not a tactic that always works (think bombing in Vietnam, Afghanistan). And the US is so vast in size I doubt even all of the US Forces could contain it. You think identifying the different sides is tough in Irag or SE Asia? What about New York or LA or Seattle?

    Yes yes there would be logistical challenges and learning challenges but I like the odds of an occupation never becoming a conquering.

  24. Since RF decided to post this, I figured I should take a moment and introduce myself. Also, this was an email I sent him last weekend after I read the original post, he sent me a polite thank you of a reply, and I was not expecting it to go up as a guest post – not that I have a problem with that. There was no intention to come into your house in stink the place up for the regulars, just clarify that the US Holocaust Memorial Museum does in fact cover the topic of armed resistance and that, in my professional opinion, you can’t really analogize from what happened in Germany the 1930s to 2nd Amendment issues in the US today as the context is too dissimilar. That said, especially when I’m posting where people have no idea who I am, and therefore no idea where I’m coming from. So if I may take a moment to introduce myself and flesh out Aono’s kind words and description: Hello, I’m Adam Silverman and I’m a subject matter expert in what the US Army refers to as human terrain, cultural operations, and the new Engagement Warfighting Function. In 2007 I was recruited for the Army’s first cultural program, which intended to embed small teams of subject matter experts (both civilian and military) with brigade combat teams in Iraq and Afghanistan. My research and analytical specialties at that time were in low intensity warfare, specifically how individuals learn to engaging in revolutions, rebellions, civil wars, insurgencies and terrorism from their primary and social group associations. I served as the cultural advisor for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division as well as the team leader for cultural ops, from October 2007 through the end of October 2008 and was deployed with the Iron Brigade in Iraq in 2008. I spent over half my deployment outside the wire doing both formal and informal engagements with local tribal, religious, and civic leaders, as well as with ordinary Iraqis in our area of operations including internally displaced Iraqis. Upon my return to the US in late 2008 I worked on program development issues and prepped for what I thought would be a deployment to Afghanistan. Instead I was handed off to the Army’s second cultural program and was assigned as the cultural advisor at the US Army War College from 2010 through 2014 where I was dual hatted as the Professor of Culture, Strategy, and Policy. During that time I also served as the cultural advisor under temporarily assigned control for III Corps, US Army Europe, and a number of other headquarters, commands, and Army programs. I then did a short stint with US Army Europe via funding from the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue to assist with the completion of the assignment I had been previously helping US Army Europe with. I’ve provided cultural operations and operational support at every level from tactical to strategic and am currently waiting to hear on my next assignment. While I’m not currently on civilian mobilization orders or a contract, as always, the views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of any of my previous commands.

    • Mr. Silverman, first, welcome, and about half my posts on this website have been emails to RF on one thing or another. I’ve learned that if I’m around him for any period of time something I say, do, or write is going to end up online.
      Your points on the original post were sound and well taken. It is important to keep our understanding of history as accurate as possible, even if it doesn’t make as exciting of a story. And for those seeking to make the plight of the Jews in Germany analogous to the current situation of gun owners in America, by any metric, it just isn’t.
      As a medic embedded with the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police force for 2 tours in southern and eastern Afghanistan, living not on a large US base but always with the Afghans on their FOBs, I appreciate your work and would hope that you would continue to post here.

      • Mr. Taylor,

        Please, its Adam. And thanks for the kind words. I was tracking on your tours in OEF, but didn’t realize you had been a full time embedded advisor. To be honest, the best part of my deployment was being out with the locals in our AOR. My teammates and I were very fortunate: we were assigned to an excellent BCT where the command group, staff, senior NCOs, battalion commanders, staffs, and senior NCOs, as well as our maneuver and enabling companies understood why we were there and were very supportive. We were also able to work a lot with out Civil Affairs company and teams – basically an enabling of the enablers – to act as a non-lethal force multiplier.

        And I’m definitely tracking about the care and forethought required before emailing RF…

  25. You are missing the point by concentrating on German Jews.
    Of all the nations under Nazi control, the Jewish people in Germany had the lowest actual genocide rate. While still exceedingly high, the ability to speak German or know someone in authority, was often the difference between life and death.
    It’s the Jewish people in Poland, the Soviet Union and other East European countries that had the highest genocide rates. Germany didn’t have 6 millions Jewish people to murder.
    People in Poland, and the Soviet Union, and other countries not only helped round up Jewish people, they often took the lead in this.
    Armed Jewish people in Poland would have made it much more dangerous for other Poles to round them up. It would have required an enormous amount of German manpower to round them up.
    Almost 10% of the Polish population was Jewish. 3 MILLION armed Jewish people is an ARMY.
    It would take far more resources than were available to round up 6 million people if those people were armed.
    Certainly, there was some belated resistance, when it became clear what was happening, and the Jewish Ghetto uprising was an act of heroism, but the goal of an armed populace isn’t that we have to resort to heroism, it’s that the act of being armed gives pause to government actions that may result in armed resistance.
    In the planning stage of the Holocaust, if the National Socialists had to divert 15 combat divisions to Poland to round up Jewish people, do you really think the Holocaust would have turned out as it did?

    • When the Germans invaded Poland that did face heavy armed resistance in the form of: 950,000 Armed Men 4,300 Artillery Pieces, 880 tanks and 400 aircraft. The Wehrmacht rolled through them in about a month, with a little help from the Russians. After, the Germans won the war between 250K and 400K partisans, including many jews, fought the Germans throughout the occupation. There was a ton of armed resistance in Poland and it did not stop the Holocaust or lift the occupation of Poland.

      • Germany invaded with a force equal to 60 divisions, and the Polish defenders, for political reasons, had to attempt to defend territory which left them exceedingly vulnerable to envelopment. Plus, the Poles were still fighting on 9/17 when the Soviets invaded, and the Poles continued resistance still.
        Rounding up a 3 Million Jews when a few hundred thousand of them are armed, is a much more difficult task that rounding up unarmed people.

    • Xanthro,

      Given the documented wide spread and deep rooted anti-Semitism within the Polish citizenry at the time of WW II, I’m not sure the Poles overall really objected much to rounding up the Jewish Poles. As for the armed resistance, as both the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Yad Vashem point out, a great deal of the armed resistance arose in Poland and the other Eastern European states – including the Jewish Armed resistance.

      • “Given the documented wide spread and deep rooted anti-Semitism within the Polish citizenry at the time of WW II, I’m not sure the Poles overall really objected much to rounding up the Jewish Poles. ”
        Of course the Polish citizenry didn’t really object to rounding up Jewish Poles, which is why I wrote that if the Jewish Poles were armed it would have been much more difficult for the Poles to round them up.
        Since Jewish Poles were not armed, Polish citizenry armed with nothing more than a few pistols and rifles could round up huge numbers of Polish Jews. If those Jews were armed, either the other Poles would have had to be BETTER armed, which meant Germany allowing armed Poles which could be used against Germany, or German armed forces would have to be used.
        In either case, the logistical efforts in herding an armed population is enormous and risky.

        “As for the armed resistance, as both the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Yad Vashem point out, a great deal of the armed resistance arose in Poland and the other Eastern European states – including the Jewish Armed resistance.”
        Nobody is denying that armed civilian resistance developed during WWII, but this did not stem from an armed citizenry. The partisans that fought against the National Socialists were mostly former military coupled with able bodied citizens seeking out bands of armed people, who then either stole weapons or relied on supply by the Soviets.
        A considerable amount of German military personnel and equipment were diverted to fighting the partisans, which constituted a small percentage of the population. Imagine the effort that would be required if prior to 09/01/1939 10% of the Polish citizenry was armed and familiar with firearms. The effort to subdue the civilian population would have been considerable more difficult if not impossible.
        Military planners would have to account for this. How do you launch Operation Barbarossa when you can’t even control the Polish countryside?
        It would have place the Germans into the position of either using fewer troops in the invasion of France, because Poland wouldn’t be secure, or delaying the invasion of France while attempting to secure the countryside. Germany couldn’t afford that delay.
        Which outcome do you think more likely in such a scenario.
        1. Germany decides to greatly increase the risk of losing the war.
        2. Germany decides to exterminating Jews is not worth the risk.

        • We should not forget the successful resistance of Spaniards to Napoleon. Even though Napoleon never intended to eliminate the Spanish, thus never putting the Spanish to the wall with no alternative than to fight (not that the French were gentle and kind…), the Spaniards, having a militant spirit and certainly not being averse to guns, tied up over 100,000 French troops and never submitted. So, yes, the possession of a gun is not enough – it takes willingness to use it.

    • The big difference between German Jews and Polish (and other Eastern European) Jews is that the former had the heat turned up slowly under them, so to speak. First it was the stormtroopers in the streets breaking windows, then it was Nuremberg laws, then it was various other limitations in civil rights, then relocations, then finally extermination. Plenty of people have emigrated before the final stage, and they could actually do so because the war didn’t begin yet.

      Polish Jews, OTOH, literally woke up one day in an occupied country. They didn’t have many opportunities to escape at that point.

      >> In the planning stage of the Holocaust, if the National Socialists had to divert 15 combat divisions to Poland to round up Jewish people, do you really think the Holocaust would have turned out as it did?

      Sure. Nazis never skimped on resources needed for their “final solution”.

  26. Nice scholarly counterpoint!

    I find the jump-to-conclusions thoughtless responses frustrating. We have to be able to understand nuances if we’re going to win this fight, and the number of responses that totally missed Prof. Silverman’s actual point is discouraging. The sort of insight he has provided here is something we have to be aware of, because it provides perspective on what we not only can and cannot argue and be credible but on how to plan in case one of those “when in the course of human events” moments comes upon us.

    For everyone here, I recommend Halbrook’s _Gun_Control_In_the_Third_Reich, which actually lends substantial support to Dr. Silverman’s letter/article, if for no other reason but that it shows how simplistic generalizations such as get tossed about shouldn’t be, because there was nothing simplistic about the situation, but also because it illustrates just how different from today’s US the late Weimar Republic and early Nazi administration were.

    Dr. Silverman, thanks for a great contribution!

  27. Considering that in the last week I actually ordered a copy of the photograph featured in this article (in the form of a film still from the great documentary Partisans of Vilna from the Chicago Tribune archives, a highly recommended film) with the intent of framing it and hanging it in my bedroom, I am probably more qualified than the average reader of the site to respond to this post. I have several books on and by Abba Kovner (central figure in the photograph and leader of the Jewish partisans in and around Vilnius). I don’t claim expertise, but I do have an interest in the subject of Jewish resistance to the genocidal campaign of the Nazis during World War II. This post deserves a long, well-cited rebuttal to set the story straight. I’m not going to give one tonight. I’ll just say I disagree strongly with the gist of what Mr. Silverman is saying. First of all, the figure he harps on, that Jews were a tiny minority in Germany, is very misleading. Most of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust didn’t live in Germany. We should be focusing on where most Holocaust victims lived, in the Pale of Settlement. The numbers in these areas, like Poland and Lithuania, paint a very different picture. Regionally there would not have been such overwhelming odds. We’re talking about millions of people across Europe facing their own murder. Talk about motivation to wage war. Silverman makes it sound as if partisan (guerrilla) warfare was ineffective in World War II. That is false. From the French Resistance to the Soviet partisans, irregular partisan fighters were more than a thorn in Nazi Germany’s backside. They were an important part of the war effort. It’s also important to realize that for most of the Jewish partisans, fighting was a way to survive. The alternative was death. Even treated as second-class, expendable soldiers by antisemitic non-Jewish partisan units, with Jewish units broken up and forcibly integrated, the survival rate was much higher than in the ghettos. 60,000 Jews suffered under the Nazis in Vilnius. 3,000 survived the war, 1,000 of those in the forests among the partisans. I would roughly estimate that as a Lithuanian Jew, you’d have a 50% chance of dying if you went into the forests to join the partisans and join the war effort against Nazi Germany, but an over 95% chance of dying if you didn’t. One of the biggest challenges and setbacks the Jewish resistance fighters faced in just about every Jewish resistance movement was lack of weaponry. The ghetto uprisings demonstrate an abundance of will to resist and an extreme dearth of weapons with which to effectively resist. Despite the will to fight for their lives, battles with “liquidators” entering the ghettos resulted in few German casualties because the Jews did not have firearms to counter German weapons. When under 10% of you fighters have a firearm, they’re not living up to their potential as an effective force. The partisans in the forest resorted to stealing the hunting arms of village farmers. Guns were hard won, but the partisans had the benefit of exposure to dead soldiers from which they could take weapons and equipment. The revolts at the concentration camps generally boiled down to hopeless fighting, usually with bare hands and improved weapons, as a distraction while others tried to escape by running away. In a few cases “armories” were broken into, but that resulted in one or two dozen rifles to spread among hundreds of prisoners trying to fight their way out. The bottom line is, moving infantry into a small city or town in America where there are as many guns as people in order to “liquidate” or murder the entire population in street-to-street fighting is a tactic that is not effective. The casualties will unacceptably high. You can burn the city to the ground, but you can’t move in with guns and murder everyone. They shoot back. An occupation would be extremely difficult. Riflemen in the woods would harass soldiers. Embedded in the population or hidden in the wilderness, the element of surprise allows every armed resistance fighter to kill several of the enemy if they’re willing to put their life on the line. If the Jews of Europe during World War II had had such access to modern small arms, many more would have survived because genocide against them would have been much rougher, slower, and more costly going.

    This Jew will never surrender and march into a cattle car. If they want to send me to a crematorium, they can lift my lifeless body out of the pile of empty brass I’m buried in and heave it onto a cart. I will fight to the death rather than allow my friends, family, and neighbors to be murdered. I am sure I could take quite a few would-be mass murderers with me, and if there are enough others like me even the most evil and bloodthirsty villains will be reluctant to risk their lives by entering our kill zone. But in order to maintain this ability to resist and repel democide, we need weapons of the most effective variety. I estimate there to be a low risk I will personally expire in an extermination camp. I’m not paying for a life insurance policy on it. However, it is one way I feel very strongly I do not want to go out. Because of that, I will never surrender arms. We the people need them. If I’ve learned anything from the history of my ancestors, it’s that absolute trust in humanity is misplaced. Get promises in writing, and always read the fine print on anything important. It doesn’t matter how much you trust someone, you should never dismiss the possibility they could turn on you, and always maintain the ability to protect yourself. The right to keep and bear arms is a necessary human right, worth risking one’s life to defend the liberty to exercise. Because without that bedrock means of security to fall back on and the respect it commands from those who would do you harm, nothing stands in the way of a villain who desires to take anything or everything from a person. I’m fighting as hard as I know how politically to keep our civil rights intact, because I do not want righteous conduct criminalized. If it comes to it, it is far more important to do what is right than what is legal. Moral laws should not create such a conflict.

  28. This Article proof’s the point, when you banish guns only the bad guys have Guns,
    Guns were banned because of all the Armed Political Parties
    Guess the NAZI Party didn’t abide by those laws., Sorta like O’Bama and the Democrats!

  29. what happened in the 1930s in Germany is not analogous to any arguments over the 2nd Amendment here in the U.S.

    Yea I disagree. You have stated that a fraction of the 1% were German Jews. There were how many Jews massacred? 6 million? If they were actually armed and willing to fight there would have been an “appreciable” effect.

    • As stated above (as anyone else who makes it this far has plainly seen) only about 500,000 Jews that were murdered were from Germany. The rest were from surrounding countries. Dr. Silverman is not saying that all six million were unarmed and that none of them had any effect, he is merely stating that if only the German Jews (as a lot of people seem to claim) had been armed, it would have ended the same.

  30. Staying out of an oven is “no appreciable effect”? I’d say the resistance appreciated that very much. Perspective issue, I suppose.

  31. Yep, the Jews sure did take up arms against the people of Germany. But it all started long before Adolf Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany. Bolshevik revolution ring any bells? They did not find much success in pushing their violent Marxist revolution in Germany because of the rise of the National Socialist party, but Trotsky and his ilk might have had a little success in Ukraine and Russia etc. if memory serves.

  32. Being armed to those that were armed. The 2nd Amendment was created so the people could DEFEND themselves FROM a corrupt and evil government. It is sad and unfortunate that innocent people are being killed. If the debate stopped and people armed themselves the people with criminal intent might think twice. As it is now the criminal, government and non government believes the victim is not armed so does what he chooses.

    • Yes, and the implication is that the government should know that there are citizens not only with arms at hand, but that a significant portion of those armed citizens are willing to actually resist the government, and that a significant portion of those have actually thought about how to do that and made preparations.

      Had there been a “Jewish Defense League” that was armed with quality weapons, trained often, and made their presence known in Germany, that might have made a difference — though it’s questionable what the difference might have been; it could have just resulted in a far bloodier Kristallnacht, for which no Jewish version of “one if by land, two if by sea” would have helped because the Nazis didn’t provide any signals as to what was coming,

      But that merely points up what the German Jewish situation has to tell us: we need those armed, dedicated, and prepared significant portions of the population, yet that remains a minimum: we need a modern version of the Minute Men, ready not merely to fight but to give warning so that others may do so.

      Silverman has done us all a service by showing how a simplistic comparison is misleading. That gives us the chance to make a more thorough comparison and draw useful conclusions.

  33. The counter-factual discussion of: What-IF the Jews were armed and fought the Nazis? misses what, I think, is the major lesson for Americans.

    Germany’s government-culture and gun-culture doomed the outcome even IF we imagined that Jews comprised 45% of the population AND that ALL had been armed.

    The overwhelming majority of Germans, especially the Jews, were very law-abiding. When the Weimar Republic required registration, everyone complied. When the Nazis started confiscation, everyone complied. Now, observe, voluntary compliance did NOT protect Jews (or Gypsies, etc.) from suspicion or reproach. The Nazi government could scale-up its harassment of it’s targeted opponents simply by ACCUSING them of possessing illegal guns, existent or FICTITIOUS.

    The guns could be framed as a concrete threat to the Reich. Jewish mercantile practices, customs, culture, etc. might be dismissed as argumentative or prejudicial; but gunzzzzz ! Guns were REAL, bullets were REAL. If the government said that the Jews had guns and bullets then it MUST be SO! If the government said that these guns were not merely for sport then their purpose must be nefarious. The alleged guns were presumed to be de-facto threats to law & order in the Reich. Good volk MUST shun the Jews because their gunzzzzzz prove that they are up to NO GOOD.

    A raid producing guns from Jews, after they claimed that they had turned them all in, were proof that the Jews were violating the law and were planning to resist the government. Confidence in, and obedience to, the government facilitated the transformation of a long German tradition of sporting arms into a conspiracy against the government.

    Had there been no guns in German civilian hands the Nazis might just as well have created a myth from whole cloth that the Jews (and any other opponents) were in possession of an arsenal.

    Our founding fathers’ experience with General Gage served to inform their decision to enshrine the RKBA into the Constitution. Still more important, the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist papers schooled us in the principle that governments must be kept on a short-leash and under the absolute sovereignty of “the People” (not the politicians). In the 17th century ownership of guns for hunting, marksmanship and self-defense was ubiquitous. Culturally, it would have been difficult to impugn a neighbor’s intentions in alleging (accurately or falsely) that he possessed guns.

    Indeed, the prefatory clause of the 2A ascribes the duty of securing the “free state” to the People in the body of the militia. By definition, civilian guns could NOT be a THREAT to law & order; they were the GUARANTEE of law & order. The proposition that a civilian’s guns threatened the state must be seen as entirely contrary to the foundation of our republic.

    America’s gun-culture was preserved through the 19th century but eroded in the 20th century. The lesson, from Nazi Germany, is (I think) in the importance of maintaining a gun-friendly culture AT-LARGE. It is NOT sufficient that 45% of households are gun-owners IF the remaining 55% view civilian gun-ownership with suspicion or trepidation. Non-gun owners must perceive the POSITIVE VALUE from their neighbors’ guns.

    Non-gun owners must see that lawful gun-owners promote public safety; i.e., that they use guns safely and non-violently. They must see that gun-keepers and gun-carriers defend the community by their ubiquitous presence. And, they must see the value in civilian gun ownership as the ultimate check on government tyranny. So long as non-gun owners are SUSCEPTIBLE to government PROPAGANDA fomenting SUSPICION of gun-owners, Americans will be as vulnerable as Germany’s Jews.

    Clearly, if government could succeed in such a propaganda campaign, 55% of non-gun-owners could out-vote 45% of gun-owners. Even a determined voting block of 25% of non-gun-owners could wreck havoc with gun-control laws in the face a 75% super-majority of less-committed, divided, despondent gun-owners.

    The Nazis succeeded because they propagandized a willing volk of non-gun-owners and uncommitted gun-owners. The failure lay in a weak gun-culture and a strong government-culture.

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