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Keywords:

  • Revolt;
  • Holocaust;
  • relative deprivation;
  • comparative case study;
  • optimism

One World War II Jewish ghetto that revolted, the Warsaw Ghetto, is compared to one that did not, the Lodz Ghetto, in order to examine the causes of violent resistance. This structured focused comparative method (George, 1979) illuminates problems with previous explanations for revolt and nonrevolt in Jewish ghettos and suggest psychological variables that might have led to or precluded organized violence. Specifically, it appears that these two ghettos differed in their perceptions about their future. The residents of the Warsaw Ghetto believed they had no hope of survival while residents of the Lodz Ghetto remained optimistic. These differing perceptions seem to have led to the different outcomes. Possible causes of these percetpions are also discussed.