Tuesday, October 13, 2015

guns against genocide and tyranny

I just witnessed a conversation in which a previous professor of mine discounted the disarmament of Jews in Germany prior to World War II. The gist being that disarming them had no effect on their ability to defend themselves from the coming genocide; that their meager arms would not have stopped the Nazi machine.

"On July 28, 1942, a meeting was held of He-Halutz and its youth-movement branches: Ha-Shomer Ha-Za’ir, Dror, and Akiva. It was decided to set up the Jewish Fighting Organization YKA (Yidishe-Kamf-Organizatsie). The organization signed proclamations which it issued in the Polish language with the initials ZOB: Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa– Jewish Fighting Organization. The members of the Command were: Bresler, Cukierman, Zivia Lubetkin, Mordecai Tenenbaum and Josef Kaplan. A delegation was sent to the Aryan side [i.e., outside the ghetto], to the Poles: Tosia Altman, Plotnicka, Leah Perlstein and Arie-Jurek Wilner, in order to make contact with the Polish Underground and to obtain weapons for the ghetto.
The fighting organization had been set up, but all the weapons there were in the ghetto at that time consisted of just one pistol...!"
- Yitzhak Arad, Yisrael Gutman, and Avraham Margaliot, eds., Documents on the Holocaust, Selected Sources on the Destruction of the Jews of Germany and Austria, Poland and the Soviet Union (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1981), 293–294.

It may not have stopped the "machine", but it might have slowed it down enough to save many. In a corollary, guns sure could have helped many other groups in their fight for survival.

Ottoman Turkey 1915-1917 Armenians 1-1.5 million 1886-1911 Art. 166, Penal Code
Soviet Union 1929-1953 Anti-Communists / Anti-Stalinists 20 million 1929 Art. 182 Penal Code
Nazi Germany & Occupied Europe 1933-1945 Jews, Gypsies, Anti-Nazis 13 million 1928-1938 Law on Firearms & Ammunition, April 12 Weapons Law, March 18
China 1949-1952 1957-1960 1966-1976 Anti- Communists Rural Populations Pro-Reform Grou 20 million 1935-1957 Arts. 186-7, Penal Code Art. 9, Security Law, Oct. 22
Guatemala 1960-1981 Maya Indians 100,000 1871-1964 Decree 36, Nov 25 Decree 283, Oct 27
Uganda 1971-1979 Christians Political Rivals 300,000 1955-1970 Firearms Ordinance Firearms Act
Cambodia 1975-1979 Educated Persons 1 million 1956 Arts. 322-8, Penal Code

Gun Control & Genocide

"The Minister of the Interior, Frick, passed Regulations Against Jew’s Possession of Weapons on November 11, 1938, which effectively deprived all Jews of the right to possess firearms or other weapons. It was a regulation prohibiting Jews from having any dangerous weapon — not just guns. Under the regulations, Jews “are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons. Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority.” Moreover, prior to that, the German police and Nazis used the 1938 firearms law as an excuse to disarm Jews. In Breslau, for instance, the city police chief decreed the seizure of all firearms from Jews on the ground that “the Jewish population ‘cannot be regarded as trustworthy’” — the language from the 1928 and 1938 firearms laws." - Bernard E. Harcourt, On Gun Registration, the NRA, Adolf Hitler, and Nazi Gun Laws: Exploding the Gun Culture Wars (A Call to Historians), 73 Fordham L. Rev. 653 (2004)

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