On August 2, 1943, in a verdant Polish forest, smoky with the acrid smell of burning human flesh, some 200 prisonersi escaped the concentration camp at Treblinka during an organised rebellion.
Seven hundreds of men pitted themselves against the camp’s few dozen guards. Two hundred were successful in breaking out, at least initially, as perhaps as little as a tenth of those survived the ensuing efforts at recapture.ii But the exact number isn’t important : the story of the Treblinka uprising is recalled and recounted for its scale, organisation, and tragic peculiarity at a time when millions of other camp prisoners in the exact same situation died with nary a whimper.iii
Some sources claim that since Treblinka had already been cleansed of its women and children, the remaining men knew not only that their loved ones could no longer be protected, but that their families were no longer at risk of the disproportionate violence characteristic of the Nazis in particular and similarly effective disciplinarians in general.iv But given this first-hand account of the uprising, presented to the American House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1945 by Samuel Rajzman, the story may be more apocryphal than anything else :
Three combat units were then organized, and our leader, Dr. Julian Chorazyski, a former captain in the Polish Army, worked out a detailed plan of action. The coup was to take place on April 21, 1943. Unfortunately, on April 19, Dr. Chorazyski failed to give a proper salute to Untersturmführer Franz, who struck him in the face with his riding crop. In his excitement Dr. Chorazycki [sic] reached for his knife and was about to strike. Franz jumped out of the window shouting that Chorazycki must be taken alive. He was foiled in this design: the doctor had time to take poison. After Chorazycki’s death our plan had to be postponed for several months because we had no qualified leader, and none of us wanted to take moral responsibility for an unsuccessful coup.
From this, we plainly see that it wasn’t fear for their family’s well-being that paralysed the camp’s prisoners, it was a lack of leadership. All was going well with the escape plans until Chorazyski died, then everything unravelled. Is this at all surprising ? Given the differences between the strong-handed Putin and the limp-wristed Obama, to say nothing of the differences between La Serenissima and that headless torso, the reluctance of sheep without a shepherd to lead themselves makes perfect sense. That the Treblinka uprising had anything to do with men who had nothing to risk but their own lives, thereby precluding family men from taking such death-defying gambles, holds little water in the light of Rajzman’s account.
While leaderless men might frame their impotence as an issue of moral responsibility, imagining that they even have a face to save from anyone but the Almighty, this is just their slave morality peeking through the cracks, nibbling at their subconsciousness and telling them that they’re not good enough. Which’d be materially and evidently true. Somehow, someway, even when the sharpest cracks in the veils of civility and dignity are wide enough to drive a Peterbilt through, they remain – such is the titanic power of the various and sundry delusions of those born into servitude who improbably imagine themselves advanced and free.
The prisoners at Treblinka weren’t beyond repair, however – such is the plasticity of the human brain that it can reorganise and recover from all but death – for the prisoners eventually did find a leader in the form of one Dr. Berek Lajcher, a physician and former Polish army officer. From early May until early August of that year, Berek put Humpty back together again, ultimately succeeding in organising and inspiring the prisoners to revolt on August 2, a struggle during which he gave his life.
So, you see, even castrated idiots with a seemingly unbelievable sense of holier-than-thou morality aren’t completely lost, they just need a shepherd to lead them forward and the willingness to follow his lead. The only problem being that such shepherds don’t come around very often and the willingness to follow is as rare as hen’s teeth, at least in meta-times.
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- Some POWs, some lead-footed jooz. Seriously, no one could’ve predicted that Jewish materialism would be so badly thumped by Nordic idealism. No one !↩
- The story of the Sobibór uprising is very similar to that of Treblinka in that hundreds of prisoners managed to escape in an organised rebellion. Even more incredibly, Sobibór leader Leon Feldhendler survived the escape.↩
- Sure, plenty of others fought back – like the young woman who, in the undressing room of Crematorium II at Auschwitz-Birkenau grabbed an SS officer’s pistol and shot two guards, killing one of them before herself being killed – but such stories represent a disconcertingly rare spark of life in a woefully passive picture of abject darkness.↩
- “What’s that soldier ? Am I funny to you, boy ? Do I make you laugh, son ? Alright then, everyone in the platoon does 50 pushups because Sargeant Clownface over here thinks that basic training camp is some kinda laugh-a-minute vacation. Everybody down ! NOW !!! 1-2-3-4-…-50. Does anyone else have a joke they’d like to tell ?”↩