Righteous, Saviors, Searchers

                       The Righteous Among The Nations


Chiune Sugihara, vice-consul of Japan in Lithuania, saved thousands of Jews by emitting false visas to Shangai.


Attitudes towards the Jews during the Holocaust mostly ranged from indifference to hostility. The mainstream watched as their former neighbors were rounded up and killed; some collaborated with the perpetrators; many benefited from the expropriation of the Jews property.

In a world of total moral collapse there was a small minority who mustered extraordinary courage to uphold human values. These were the Righteous Among the Nations. They stand in stark contrast to the mainstream of indifference and hostility that prevailed during the Holocaust. Contrary to the general trend, these rescuers regarded the Jews as fellow human beings who came within the bounds of their universe of obligation. 



“The Jewish people have a special skill. They know

how to remember.” Kensset Member Moshe Feiglin


Aciman, Alexander. “Still Hunting Nazis.” Tablet Magazine. Nextbook Inc, 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Dec. 2012. <http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/117824/still-hunting-nazis>. “To take what was denied, obfuscated, and forgotten and make it inescapably visible has been a great part of Serge Klarsfeld’s job as a Nazi hunter. The same dedication that drove Klarsfeld to go after Brunner manifested itself when he spent countless months copying, by hand, the names of the more than 10,000 children, like Georgy, who died in Auschwitz.”

Atwood, Kathryn J. Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue. Chicago: Chicago Review, 2011. Print. “Twenty-six engaging and suspense-filled stories unfold from across Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, and the United States, providing an inspiring reminder of women and girls’ refusal to sit on the sidelines around the world and throughout history.”

Block, Gay, and Malka Drucker. Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1992. Print. Narratives of the rescuers, the men and women who risked everything to save Jews marked for death during the Holocaust.

“British Spy Frank Foley Who Saved German Jews Honoured.” TheJC.com. 12 July 2012. Web. 04 Dec. 2012. <http://www.thejc.com/print/69876>. “A ‘true British hero’ of the Holocaust who risked his life to save 10,000 German Jews has had his bravery marked at a Jewish cemetery. The plaque honoring Major Frank Foley has been placed at the entrance to Hoop Lane cemetery in Golders Green.

Connelly, John. “The Noble and the Base: Poland and the Holocaust.” The Nation. 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://www.thenation.com/article/171262/noble-and-base-poland-and-holocaust>. “Earlier this year, while conferring a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom on the Polish hero Jan Karski, Barack Obama inadvertently touched off the greatest crisis in US-Polish relations in recent memory. The man he honored had served as a courier for the Polish resistance against Hitler, and in 1942 Karski traveled across occupied Europe to tell Western leaders about the Nazi war crimes being committed in Poland, including the Holocaust. Karski had been sent on this secret mission, Obama explained, after fellow underground fighters had told him that “Jews were being murdered on a massive scale and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.” It was late evening in Warsaw when Obama spoke, but within minutes Polish officials were demanding an apology for his use of the phrase “Polish death camp,” which they thought scandalous.”

Darring, Gerald. “Righteous Gentiles.” WWW.shc.edu. Spring Hill College. Web. 29 Sept. 2011. <http://www.shc.edu/theolibrary/resources/10Righteous.htm>. “The term ‘Righteous Gentile’ or ‘Righteous among the Nations’ is used to name those non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. The title is used informally as referring to anyone considered by the speaker or writer to be a savior of Jews, but it has an official role in the Israeli program of Holocaust remembrance administered by Yad Vashem.”

Davidzon, Vladislav. “Undercover at Auschwitz.” Tablet Magazine. Nextbook Inc, 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 15 Mar. 2013. <http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/126497/undercover-at-auschwitz>. “World War II hero Witold Pilecki infiltrated the death camp and reported to the Polish high command. … The same indomitable force of personality that had compelled Pilecki to break into and out of the most brutal death camp ever erected by mankind led him compulsively back into Poland in the autumn of 1945, after the war had ended, to gather intelligence and set up resistance networks under Gen. Anders’ orders for the foreseen struggle against the Russians.”

Doino, William. “Yad Vashem Honors Cardinal Who Fought for Jewish Lives.” First Things. 29 Dec. 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. “The recent news that Cardinal Elia Dalla Costa has been recognized as ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial is a welcome, and a much-deserved, honor. Dalla Costa, the archbishop of Florence during World War II, ‘played a central role in the organization and operation of a widespread rescue network,’ said Yad Vashem in its November announcement. He ‘recruited rescuers from among the clergy, supplied letters to his activists so that they could go to heads of monasteries and convents entreating them to shelter Jews, and sheltered Jews in his own palace.’”

Epstein, Angela. “I Broke into Auschwitz, I Had to See It for Myself.” The JC.com. 01 Sept. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2012. <http://www.thejc.com/print/53982>. The view from Denis Avey’s hill-top Derbyshire cottage is spectacular. Little wonder the sprightly 92-year-old loves relaxing in his favourite armchair and looking out over the fields and hills surrounding his lovely home. But despite the tranquillity, nothing can stop the stream of barbaric snapshots flashing into the mind of this former prisoner of war as he recalls what he witnessed when he broke into Auschwitz. Yes, that is broke in, not broke out. For as a British soldier incarcerated at a nearby work camp, Avey had heard of the horrors taking place at the nearby Nazi death camp. And he wanted to see it for himself.”

Glasner, Chaya. “Not Ordinary at All.” Jewish Ideas Daily. 19 Apr. 2012. Web. 25 Jan. 2013. <http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/5821/features/not-ordinary-at-all/>. “United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon dedicated this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day to rescuers of Nazi victims who were not famous heroes but little-known people living ‘ordinary’ lives. Yet some of those little-known rescuers lived anything but ordinary lives, like the extraordinary Berta Davidovitz Rubinsztejn.”

Glasner, Chaya. “Righteous Among Our Nation.” Jewish Ideas Daily. Jewish Ideas Daily, 19 Apr. 2012. Web. 01 Feb. 2013. <http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/1113/features/righteous-among-our-nation/>. “Even before visitors walk through the door of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum, they see a powerful tribute to Holocaust heroism. Along the Avenue of the Righteous leading to the museum, thousands of trees bloom in honor of the approximately 21,000 ‘Righteous Among the Nations,’ courageous Gentiles who defied the Nazis and risked their lives to save Jews from deportation. There’s a memorial tree for Miep Gies, the woman who hid Anne Frank in the secret annex, and another for Oskar Schindler, the Nazi who rescued 1,200 Jews. … Such tributes are manifestly appropriate, but Holocaust museums generally omit another important group of rescuers: the 200 Jewish organizations within and outside Nazi Europe that worked to rescue fellow Jews from the Nazis.”

Hoffman, Allison. “Hollywood’s Unknown Rescuer.” Tablet Magazine. Nextbook Inc, 20 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/124664/hollywood-unknown-rescuer>. “But could the powerful Jewish moguls of Hollywood’s Golden Era … done more to save their co-religionists from the Holocaust? The answer is yes. Just how much more the Jews of Hollywood could have done is shown by the deeds of another studio boss whose personal sense of urgency and activism outstripped even that of the Warners, but who never made it into the history books as one of America’s most important Holocaust rescuers. His name was Carl Laemmle.”

Holmes, Marian. “Five Rescuers of Those Threatened by the Holocaust.” History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian Institute, Mar. 2009. Web. 08 Oct. 2011. <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Five-Rescuers-of-Those-Threatened-by-the-Holocaust.html>. “Righteous good Samaritans came from across the world to save Jews and others from concentration camps.” They were Chiune Sugihara, Charles “Carl” Lutz, Feng-Shan Ho, Varian Fry, and Raoul Wallenberg.

Horn, Dara. “The Rescuer.” Tablet Magazine. Nextbook Inc, 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/88130/the-rescuer>. Book – “The Rescuer” “Between 1940 and 1941, working out of a hotel room and later a small office in the French port city of Marseille, Varian Fry rescued hundreds of artists, writers, musicians, composers, scientists, philosophers, intellectuals, and their families from the Nazis, taking enormous personal risks to bring them to the United States. Fry was one of the only American ‘righteous Gentiles,’ a man who voluntarily risked everything to save others, with no personal connection to those he saved.”

Lieber, Chavie. “67 Years Later Holocaust Survivor Reunites with Rescuer.” JTA Jewish News Archive. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 26 Nov. 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://www.jta.org/news/article-print/2012/11/26/3112831/wwiii-era-archbishop-of-florence-recognized-as-righteous-gentile>. “Cardinal Elia Angelo Dalla Costa, the World War II-era Archbishop of Florence, has been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. In an announcement issued Monday, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem said Dalla Costa was recognized as a righteous gentile earlier this year ‘for spearheading the rescue of hundreds of Jews in Florence during the Holocaust.’ Dalla Costa died in 1961 at the age of 89.”

Lipman, Jennifer. “Nurses of Bergen Belsen Survivors Recognised in Research.” TheJC.com. 04 Oct. 2012. Web. 04 Dec. 2012. <http://www.thejc.com/print/84665>. “The heroic efforts of nurses and other female aid workers in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of Bergen Belsen, including the aunt of broadcaster Esther Rantzen, have been highlighted in a new piece of research. Nearly 70 years after Allied troops entered the concentration camp to find 40,000 survivors on the brink of death, the true number of women who joined relief groups as nurses, social workers or cooks remains unclear.”

“The Maid Who Became a Rescuer: Erzsebet Fajo.” The Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem, 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/stories/fajo.asp>. “This is the story of Erzsebet Fajo who worked as a nursemaid for a Jewish family … decided to fight for the survival of her employers, and demonstrated enormous courage and resourcefulness.”

“Milena Jesenska – Righteous Among the Nations.” Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem, 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/stories/jesenska.asp>. Milena Jesenska, daughter of a Czech patriot, She sheltered and fed those who were escaping from the Nazis. She also provided false papers for these refugees. On December 14, 1994, Yad Vashem recognized Milena Jesenská as Righteous Among the Nations..

Nadler, Allan. “The Huguenot Connection.” Jewish Ideas Daily. 3 Jan. 2011. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/791/features/the-huguenot-connection/>. “In the darkest hours of the Holocaust, the safest place for Jews in occupied Europe may have been the southern French hamlet of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Inspired by the town’s Huguenot (that is, French-Protestant) pastor, the residents collaborated in the war’s best-organized and largest-scale rescue operation, hiding and saving the lives of some 5,000 Jews.”

“The Nanny That Kept Her Promise: Gertruda Bablinska.” The Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem, 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/stories/babilinska.asp>. After World War II ended, Gertruda Bablinska kept her promise to her former Jewish employer. She took her charge, a little boy, Michael, to the Land of Israel. She dedicated her life to keeping her promise even though it took many years.

Nicky’s Family. Dir. Matej Minac. Film. The Jerusalem Post, 20 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Feb. 2012. <http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishFeatures/Article.asp?=204557>. “Sir Nicholas Winton arranged 8 trains to carry 669 children, mostly Jewish, from Czechoslovakia to Britain at the outbreak of World War II.”

O’Donnell, Patrick K. They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies behind the Lines in Nazi Germany. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2009. Print. “[O’Donnell] fleshes out the tale of sacrifice, spies, courage and betrayal organized by the American Office of Strategic Services to take on Gestapo troops in a heavily fortified district, Alpine Redoubt…Armed with research in the National Archives, confidential documents and personal interviews, O’Donnell tells a heart-stopping tale of sabotage by men and women who placed everything on the line against a seemingly unstoppable tyranny.”

Oren, Ram. Gertruda’s Oath: A Child, a Promise, and a Heroic Escape during World War II. New York: Doubleday, 2009. Print. During WWII Gertruda, a Catholic nanny, promises a dying Jewish woman that she will take the mother’s son to Palestine and raise him as her own Jewish son. This book is “a story of extraordinary courage and moral strength in the face of horrific events.”

Paldiel, Mordecai. The Righteous among the Nations. Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2007. Print. “In gripping narratives, we learn of the men, women, and even the children of different nationalities and faiths, who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.”

“Polish Holocaust Rescuer Recognized.” Holocaust – Non-Jewish Victims of the Holocaust – Pictures – Stories. Holocaust Forgotten. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. <http://holocaustforgotten.com/bilecki.htm>. “Julian Bileckki was a skinny teenager in war-torn Poland when and his family helped hide 23 Jews in an underground bunker, saving them from Nazi death squads.”

“Profile: Sweden’s Holocaust Hero.” BBC – News. 12 Jan. 2001. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1113689.stm>. “Raoul Wallenberg is credited with saving the lives of tens of thousands of Jews, but was unable to save his own.”

“Queen Meets ‘Britain’s Schindler’” BBC – News -UK. 23 Oct. 2008. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7686060.stm>. “A British man [Sir William Winton] who saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis ahead of World War II has met the Queen during her visit to Slovakia.”

“Rescue.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 29 May 2011. <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005185>. “Despite the indifference of most Europeans and the collaboration of others in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust, individuals in every European country and from all religious backgrounds risked their lives to help Jews.”

“The Rescue of Danish Jews.” Jewish Virtual Library – Homepage. The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/denmark.html>. “Denmark was the only occupied country that actively resisted the Nazi regime’s attempts to deport its Jewish citizens. On September 28, 1943, Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, a German diplomat, secretly informed the Danish resistance that the Nazis were planning to deport the Danish Jews. The Danes responded quickly, organizing a nationwide effort to smuggle the Jews by sea to neutral Sweden.”

“The Rescue of Denmark’s Jews.” The Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem, 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/stories/historical_background/denmark.asp>. “This rescue operation by the Danish underground is exceptional because of the widespread agreement and resolve of many Danes from all walks of life – intellectuals, fishermen, priests, policemen, doctors, simple workers – to save the Jews. It was a national refutation of Nazi Germany and a reaffirmation of democratic and humanistic values.”

The Rescue of Denmark’s Jews. Vimeo, Video Sharing For You. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://vimeo.com/3915187>. “Short documentary for Holocaust Museum Houston by Leslie Meimoun – Writer/Producer. Co-Produced/Edited by Gotham Image Works, Inc. Video is part of the permanent multimedia exhibit at the Museum showcasing the story of how Denmark’s heroic citizens rescued over 7,200 Danish Jews from the Nazis by hiding and ferrying them across the Oresund Strait to neutral Sweden.”

“Righteous among the Nation.” Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia. Web. 29 Sept. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Righteous_among_the_Nations>. Righteous Gentiles is an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. The term originates with the concept of “righteous gentiles,” a term used in rabbinical Judaism to refer to non-Jews, as ger toshav and ger zedek, who abide by the Seven Laws of Noah.

“The Righteous Among The Nations – Yad Vashem.” Yadvashem. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/about.asp>. “In a world of total moral collapse there was a small minority who mustered extraordinary courage to uphold human values. These were the Righteous Among the Nations. They stand in stark contrast to the mainstream of indifference and hostility that prevailed during the Holocaust. Contrary to the general trend, these rescuers regarded the Jews as fellow human beings who came within the bounds of their universe of obligation.”

“Righteous Persons.” Jewish Virtual Library – Homepage. The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Web. 17 Jan. 2012. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/righteous.html>. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were saved by individuals who risked their lives in order to save Jews.

Schwartz, Terese P. “Courageous Women and Children of the Holocaust / The Children – Their Power Underestimated / The Women – Their Capabilities Underestimated.” Holocaust – Non-Jewish Victims of the Holocaust – Pictures – Stories. Holocaust Forgotten, 2008. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. <http://holocaustforgotten.com/realcourage.htm>. “The truly courageous [of the Holocaust] are the rescuers – the ones who risked their own lives …”

Senesh, Hannah. Hanna Senesh: Her Life and Diary. New York: Schocken, 1972. Print. “Israel’s national heroine, Senesh returned to her native Hungary in 1943 to help rescue Jews. She was captured by the Nazi’s and executed at the age of 23.”

Sporl, Gerhard. “Göring’s List: Should Israel Honor a Leading Nazi’s Brother?” SpiegelOnline. 7 Mar. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <http://www.jidaily.com/44625?utm_source=Jewish+Ideas+Daily+Insider&utm_campaign=6e489d1e9f-Insider&utm_medium=email>. “Leading Nazi Hermann Göring was instrumental to Hitler’s reign of terror, but research suggests his brother Albert saved the lives of dozens of Jews. Israel must now decide whether he deserves to be honored as one of the ‘Righteous Among the Nations.’”

Szita, Szabolcs, and Sean Lambert. Trading in Lives?: Operations of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee in Budapest, 1944-1945. Budapest: Central European UP, 2005. Print. “Set in the tumultuous moments of 1944–45 Budapest, this work discusses the operations of the Budapest Relief and Rescue Committee. Drawing out the contradictions and complexities of the mass deportations of Hungarian Jews during the final phase of World War II, Szita suggests that in the Hungarian context, a commerce in lives ensued, where prominent Zionists like Dr. Rezso Kasztner negotiated with the higher echelons of the SS, trying to garner the freedom of Hungarian Jews.”

Thompson, Mike. “The British ‘Schindler’ Who Saved Austrian Jews.” BBC – News- World. 8 Aug. 2011. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-14390524>. “In March 1938, a Church of England chaplain (Reverend Hugh Grimes) set out to save the lives of hundreds of desperate Austrian Jews facing persecution by the Nazis by baptising them as Christians, to help them flee the country.”

Weisel, Eva. “Honoring All Who Saved Jews.” New York Times. 27 Dec. 2011. Web. 29 Dec. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/opinion/honoring-all-who-saved-jews.html>. The author was 13 when German troops occupied her hometown. An Arab Muslim man, Abdul Wahab saved her life and has been denied the recognition he deserves. Yad Vashem has denied him the “righteous” honor. The author believes it is because he was an Arab Muslim.

“Winton’s Children: Alf Dubs.” BBC – News -UK. 3 Sept. 2009. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8227657.stm>. “Alf Dubs was six when the German army arrived in Prague, and his father abruptly left for London.That was March 1939, the month the first of Nicholas Winton’s trains carrying Jewish children to safety left Czechoslovakia.”

“Winton’s Children: Vera Gissing.” BBC – News -UK. 3 Sept. 2099. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8227334.stm>. “Vera Gissing is in no doubt that she owes her life to Nicholas Winton. She was put on a train out of German-occupied Prague in June 1939, shortly before her 11th birthday, and never saw her parents again.”

“With Fishing Boats to Sweden: Henry Christen and Ellen Margrethe Thomsen.” The Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem, 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/stories/thomsen.asp>. Henry Christian Thomsen and his wife Ellen Margrethe helped an estimated 1,000 Danish Jews escape to Sweden. In 1968 Yad Vashem conferred the title of Righteous Among the Nations on them.

“World War II-era Archbishop of Florence Recognized as Righteous Gentile.” JTA Jewish News Archive. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 26 Nov. 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://www.jta.org/news/article-print/2012/11/26/3112831/wwiii-era-archbishop-of-florence-recognized-as-righteous-gentile>. “Cardinal Ella Angelo Dalla Costa, the World War II-era Archbishop of Florence, has been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.”

Yanover, Yori. “Bulgaria Commemorates 70 Years of Saving Its Jews.” The Jewish Press. 10 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bulgaria-commemorates-70-years-of-saving-its-jews/2013/03/10/>. “The 70th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews in WW II is being commemorated with a number of solemn ceremonies in Bulgarian capital Sofia Sunday, Sofia News Agency reports. Unlike most other Nazi allies or Nazi -occupied countries, Bulgaria saved its entire Jewish population from deportation to concentration camps.”