Stealth Altruism: Forbidden Care as Jewish Resistance in the Holocaust

Arthur B. Shostak's picture

I am seeking discussion of a subject I have been studying in earnest since 2003 when I retired from 43 years as a campus-bsed sociologist. My book - Stealth Altruism: Forbidden Care as Jewish Resistance in the Holocaust - offers my research findings, some of which can be previewed at www.stealthaltruism.com. I draw on a close read of 195 survivor memoirs, many interviews with survivors here and abroad, research visits to 48 Holocaust Museums and Education Centers worldwide, extensive reading in the scant relevant academic literature (Aharony, Bartrow, Tec, Wiesel, etc.), and many public presentations. I define "stealth altruism" as the secret effort some Jewish victims made to help care for less well-off others in full knowledge of a fierce Nazi prohibition against such behavior. In almost all of 195 memoirs I found recall of giving or getting such care, though in only 5 of 48 museums and education centers was this acknowledged.

I would like to discuss 1) reasons for the seven-decade long neglect of stealth altruism in Holocaust Museums, Education Centers, Yom HaShaoh commemorations, and Holocaust curricula. 2) Types of Stealth Altruism under occupation, in ghettos, in transit to the camps, and in the different typoes of camps. 3) The part played by Judaism in the motivation of Carers. 4) Ways in which Judaism hindered Stealth Altruism. 5) Characteristics of "Carers," the high-risk providers of Stealth Altruism.  6) Women as Carers. 7) Gentiles as para-Carers. 8) Reforms that can promote appreciation of Stealth Altruism in Holocaust Museums, Education Centers, Yom HaShaoh commemorations, and Holocaust curricula.