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Jews x Nazis Question: Why did Gandhi advice the Jews to give their lives away?

Dear ones, my name is Marcus and I'm writting from Brazil. I have a question, a doubt about Gandhi, and I think maybe you can help me out. For years I have read and heard and studied the life and work from Gandhi. But there is a question, to which I cannot find an answer. It is about the Jews. I understand that Gandhi was not an anti-semite, but I cannot understand why he said in his letter from 11/26/1938, that the Jews should practically commit suicide, by letting the Nazis kill them. Why has he not adviced them to flee from Germany? I read all documents about this questions, and I really don't understand his point. It seems crazy to me, to advice people to die by the hands of a dictators' soldiers...
Maybe someone can explain this question to me.
Here are his words:
"If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment."
Thank you for your attention.

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Gandhiji was expressing that if the Jews had been more active in their own deaths and suffering that the world would have seen the travesty of Hitler sooner and a global outcry would have come sooner, so humiliating Hitler in his sins that he would have stopped out of sheer shame.  Study Buddhist auto-cremation tactics.

Dear Gene, thanks for your comments. My reply: I don't think Gandhi meant this you said. I just don't understand, maybe it's my fault. Gandhi wrote: "And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy". What's that supposed to mean? I think that people shall live to do Good and good things. If your enemy comes and tries to kill you, you have to find away to get away from this situation and to continue to live. Should we advice all opressed people to give their lives aways by the opressor's hands?

Non-cooperation is in its essences, a rejection to act in ways that benefit an oppressor.  A larger read of Gandhiji on the Jewish/ WWII issue will reveal an openness even to ones own death in the face of evil.  There is Dharna (non-violence but with a heart of hate) and Satyagraha (non-violence with love toward the one in the wrong).  Gandhiji supported the latter.

Looking at history reveals a few truths about Jews, Gandhi and Germany.

Please read what Gandhi wrote next to what you have quoted.

“... And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end, the rest are bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy which no number of resolutions of sympathy passed ...”

He clearly meant the Jews, while fighting for their homeland in Palestine based on some biblical contexts, did have no other option to get expelled from other parts of the world.  “... Cry for the national home affords a colourable justification for the German expulsion of Jews”, he wrote. And for Gandhi, it did not make much attention or interest.

But, it did not happen. Jews preferred to remain in Germany and the persecution continued under Hitler’s rule. But again, Gandhi did not want to compel them to follow him or any civil resistance methods in Germany when the cry for national home was going on in the middle-east.

 It was the bad time for Jews that they could not take up the prescription from Gandhi to go for a non-violent struggle against persecution under a strong leadership. Neither there was a question of hatred in their hearts against the Hitler’s Germany.


Hello Marcus,

is your claim consistent with Gandhijis writings/(actions also against brutal forces)?

I as a sinlge person would be terribly scared in face of a gun etc. but in a group, perhaps a change? Also the 'colaboration'  between some zionist groups and Nazi leadership existed (reference Hannah Arendt for e.g.).

Have you also read  his reply in 1947 regarding Jewish terrorism (you correctly read this) in Palestine?.

Then reconsider your claim.

All the best


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