I’ve heard gun control advocates ask blithely, “Why would our government ever want to hurt its own people?” They say it as if the point was self-evident and usually in that special kind of talking down to you tone they somehow think discredits gun owners’ concerns as paranoid. To that I say it isn’t self-evident because it never has been, and I don’t listen to sheep because they never studied history. The last hundred years are marred by examples of governments first depriving their citizens of their arms before forcing their own will on the unwilling without fear of reprieve. Calculated moves to create an unarmed populace for the purpose of crowd-control; on this subject, we have numerous testimonies.
In this country, the Second Amendment was framed as (and currently remains) an insurance policy against such tyranny, and while I hope I never live to see such a thing in my own life, I leave these examples as a reminder for those who think gun control is necessary of the things that can happen when a disarmed population faces the tyranny of a gun grabbing government.
The Krakow ghetto: The liquidation of 55,000 people
The liquidation of the Krakow ghetto at the hands of the dreaded German SS was one of the most shocking events in the 20th century and likely one of the most haunting for Westerners particularly. Today, the few who survived Hitler’s Holocaust routinely remind us of how it was an unarmed populace that fell victim to Nazi tyranny (like this compelling story from Austrian survivor Kitty Werthmann).
When Germany invaded Poland there were nearly 70,000 Jews in Krakow. Only 15,000 of these Jews were allowed to remain (because they were “workers”). The rest were moved out of the city to other areas while those remaining were crammed into an area designed for one fifth of their number. Conditions were cramped to say the least with many families forced to survive on the streets — so walls were built to surround the ghetto and with four guarded entrances.
On May 30, 1942 the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto began — the process of shipping out all the town’s Jews and other enemies of the state to various concentration camps. More than 7,000 were shipped out in the first wave and then 4,000 in the next, all destined to be killed at or en route to Belzec. On March 13, 1943 the final liquidation began on the order of the ruthless Amon Goth. Around 8,000 remaining Krakow Jews and other ‘undesirables’ were shipped to a Plaszow labor camp while another 2,000 were killed in the streets and apartments of the city. Goth shipped any left off to Auschwitz.
You can see this struggle depicted in the movie Schindler’s List in detail, and of the 70,000 Jews, Oskar Schindler was only able to save about 1,200 people. I think the film should be required viewing for any adult or mature child who values freedom.
Today we can wonder what would have came of the Jews in Krakow had they kept their weapons. In the famous Warsaw Ghetto uprising around 220 Jewish and Gentile resistance fighters were able to repel the first wave of German invaders, much to Nazi Jürgen Stroop’s surprise.
“When we invaded the Ghetto for the first time, the Jews and the Polish bandits succeeded in repelling the participating units, including tanks and armored cars, by a well-prepared concentration of fire.” – Jürgen Stroop, high-ranking Nazi and SS official
This victory would be short lived for the resistance fighters. The Warsaw Jews had been subject to the same disarmament as the Krakow Jews and, even with significantly more cached weapons and a slight tactical advantage over their attackers, they were incredibly out gunned against the Axis. One of the last remaining survivors, Marek Edelman, who was interviewed in 1986, reported that each individual fighter only had a handgun, some grenades and homemade Molotov cocktails while there were only three rifles, two landmines and a single submachine gun in the entire ghetto. Handmade weapons, created in hopes of rounding out their arsenal, were also used, but many reportedly jammed.