This study is addressed to safeguard a living memory of the Shoah and to counter the stereotypical image of Jews killed “like sheep being led to slaughter”. It examines as yet unexplored psychosocial aspects, namely the first-hand experiences and the reactions to the persecution, to which a collection of eight testimonies written in the ghettos of Poland provide evidence. Their authors were both witnesses and victims of the atrocities and didn’t survive. The main results show a remarkable dynamism in the contents examined as well as great diversity between the texts, which are remarkably focused on the present and which moderately resort to the use of stereotypical expressions to describe members of the ingroup and outgroup, a phenomenon that was not expected. Starting with expressions that show widespread awareness of the injustice and abuse of power occurring in the ghettos, the authors were engaged in providing aid and taking on active and diversified social roles indicative of life-oriented culture, in great contrast with the notion of “sheep being led to slaughter”.

Keywords: Memory of Shoah; Nazi Ghettos; Testimonies; Reactions to Persecution.