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the 20th Century Holocaust


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Raoul Wallenberg
Raoul Wallenberg
is credited with saving the lives of tens of thousands of Jews,
but was unable to save his own.

Raoul Wallenberg, who stared the Nazi beast straight in the eye and refused to blink, the soft-spoken Swede who saved more Jews in the Holocaust than any single rescuer --indeed, more than most countries-- disappeared on January 17, 1945. Taken away by the Soviet Red Army troops in Budapest and send to a Soviet gulag, he never was seen again.


"To save one life is
as if you have saved the world"
The Talmud

Defining the Righteous
In the Context of the Holocaust

by Irena Steinfeldt, the current Director of
The Righteous Among the Nations Department of Yad Vashem.

The Righteous Among the Nations are defined as those few who risked their lives to help Jews.

When Yad Vashem was established to commemorate the six million Jews murdered in the Shoah, the Knesset added yet another task to the Holocaust Remembrance Authority's mission: to honor the Righteous Among the Nations --those non-Jews who had taken great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust. The Righteous program is an unprecedented attempt by the victims of an unparalleled crime to search within the nations of perpetrators, collaborators and bystanders for persons who bucked the general trend of indifference, acquiescence and collaboration.

The motivation for the establishment of this unique program was a deep sense of gratitude toward the minority that stood by the Jewish people, but there seems to have been an added dimension. In a world where Auschwitz had become a real possibility, the Jewish people and the survivors needed to hang on to some hope for mankind, something that would enable them to maintain their faith in human values and rebuild their lives after having witnessed an unprecedented moral collapse.

During the Holocaust 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. Only a small minority felt that the persecuted Jews were part of their universe of obligation and that it was their duty to act.

Help and rescue of Jews took many forms and required varying degrees of involvement and self-sacrifice. Manifestations of sympathy and maintaining social contacts with the Jewish outcasts, providing moral encouragement, food, housing or money, warning about upcoming arrests or razzias, offering advice as to hiding possibilities are only some of the forms of help that survivors describe in their testimonies.

ALTHOUGH THESE humane and generous deeds were often crucial to the Jews' ability to survive, the Yad Vashem law uses a more restrictive characterization. By defining the Righteous as persons "who risked their lives to save Jews," the lawmakers delineated a small group within these wider circles of men and women who helped and supported Jews in the darkest hour of Jewish history.

The Righteous according to this definition were people who not only helped the Jews, but were willing to leave their relatively safe positions as bystanders; people who were prepared, if necessary, to pay a price for their stand and even share the victims' fate; who felt that an unprecedented crime required exceptional responses, and that faced with ultimate evil, mere manifestations of sympathy were no longer sufficient; they believed that the situation required more than just doing the right thing - that there was something that superceded their personal safety.

The challenge facing the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, therefore, is to draw a clear line through a spectrum of multifaceted human behavior and situations. This is, no doubt, a formidable task. When the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous was established in 1962, the program's founding fathers must have realized that the newly formed body would face extremely complex questions, and therefore decided to nominate a Supreme Court justice as the commission's chair. In the 47 years of its existence, the commission has strictly observed its independence under the guidance of the commission's successive chairs.

Each case is meticulously researched before it is submitted to the commission. Based on the documentation gathered, the commission then goes on to discuss the case and to examine if the rescue involved risk and if it accords with the other criteria that the commission developed over the years.
From The Jerusalem Post, April 8, 2009

II. Heroes and Heroines of the Holocaust

"I would stand with God against man rather than with man against God." 
[Aristides de Sousa Mendes]
1. Memories of Courage
2. Two Countries, Denmark and Bulgaria, that Stood Out and Made a Difference
King Boris III of Bulgaria
3. Names of Some True Heroes of the Holocaust:
3A). Raul Wallenberg and Oscar Schindler
--Two Legendary Rescuers of Jews
3B). Nicholas Winton of UK, Jan Karski of Poland,
and Zerah Warhaftig, a founding father of modern Israel
--Saviors of Thousands of Jewish Lives
3C). Varian Fry and Martha & Rev. Waitstill Sharp
--the Only Americans Recognized by Yad Vashem as Heroes of the Holocaust
3D). Diplomats that Made a Difference
3E). Ordinary People that Became Extraordinary Through Their Acts of Humanity and Courage
Dr. Janus Korczak
Remembrance of Poles
4. Heroes of the Holocaust
from the Nazi Germany
5. Jewish Rescuers: On the Recognition of Righteous Jews
6. The Nameless Rescuers
7. Tributes to Rescuers

In Front of the Righteous, I Bow



1. Memories of Courage

The Holocaust is not only a story of destruction and loss;
it is a story of an apathetic world and a few rare individuals of extraordinary courage.

  • The "Righteous Among the Nations" Title and Program offered by the State of Israel
    through Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
    The Story of Righteous Gentiles

  • Catholic Heroes of the Holocaust
  • Catholic Martyrs of the Holocaust
  • Polish Righteous

  • German anti-Nazi cleric, Cardinal Clemens August von Galen, heads for sainthood
  • The Simon Wiesenthal Center Photo Album of the Righteous
  • From Yad Vashem: Statistics and Some Profiles of the Righteous by Country
  • From Yad Vashem: Solidarity and Rescue
    Romanian Righteous Among the Nation

  • Bambili's Rigteuous Among The Nations website
    Some of the Righteous

  • A List Of Holocaust Rescuers
    Courtesy of Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
    College of Education, University of South Florida, USA.




    # Joseph Andre was a Belgian abbot who helped rescue hundreds of Jewish children and encouraged them to remain in the Jewish faith.
    # Germaine Belline and Liliane Gaffney explain how they hid 30 Jews in Belgium.
    # Ivan Beltrami was able to use his position as an intern to protect Jews in a hospital infirmary.
    # Esther Bem relates how she and her family were hidden in an Italian village.
    # Marie Benoit was a French Capuchin monk who arranged for the rescue of thousands of Jews.
    # Bert Bochove describes at length how he and his wife Annie saved the lives of many Jews in Holland during the war.
    # Anna and Jaruslav Chlup cared for Herman Feder, a Jewish man who escaped from a train on its way to a death camp.
    # John Damski barely escaped execution while a Polish political prisoner. Upon release he helped many Jews in Poland to escape the ghetto, obtain false documents, and find work.
    # Jean Deffaugt, mayor of a French town on the Swiss border, aided Jews caught crossing the border.
    # Marc Donadille was a Protestant minister who rescued about 80 Jewish children in France.
    # Miep Gies was one of those who attempted to hide Anne Frank and her family.
    # Marie-Rose Gineste harbored Jews in Montauben, France.
    # The Gorniak Family hid Jews in their hayloft.
    # Marian Halicki hid a group of Jews in his workroom.
    # Hermann Friedrich Grabe used his position as a foreman to employ and protect many Jews.
    # Paul Gruninger was a Swiss official who disobeyed his government by allowing some thirty-six hundred Jews to cross illegally into Switzerland.
    # Emilie Guth and Ermine Orsi were French Protestants who hid Jews in the Le Chambon area of France.
    # Franciska Halamajowa hid Jews in her hayloft and cellar.
    # Adelaide Hautval was a French physician who defied the Nazis and assisted those in need at Auschwitz and Birkenau.
    # Esta Heiber tells how she was able to rescue 20 Jewish children in Belgium.
    # Father Jacques de Jésus was a Carmelite friar and headmaster of the Petit Collège Sainte-Thérèse de l ' Enfant-Jésus. His attempt to rescue four Jewish boys is remembered in the film Au Revoir les Enfants.
    # Father Jacques' stay in Mauthausen and Gusen camps is remembered at this site.
    # Antonin Kalina, a Communist political prisoner, was able to protect 1,300 children in Buchenwald.
    # Helen L. tells how an older Russian soldier's compassion helped save her life.
    # Barbara Szymanska Makuch chronicles her aid to Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Nazis imprisoned her for her work in the underground.
    # Laura Margolis' relief efforts among the Jewish refugees in the Shanghai ghetto saved many lives.
    # Mihael Michaelov explains how he helped Jews in Bulgaria during the Holocaust.
    # Ellen Nielsen tells how she helped Jews escape by boat to Sweden.
    # Marion P., a Dutch rescuer, hid a number of Dutch Jews. (Photo, video, audio, and text)
    # Dimitar Peshev helped to rescue Jews in Bulgaria.
    # Mirjam Pinkhof worked with Joop Westerweel in Holland, finding refuge for German children who had been sent there by their parents for safety after Kristallnacht.
    # Tina Strobos tells the story of an active member of the Dutch underground.
    # Pastor Andre Trocme lead an effort in the French Protestant village of Le Chambon to save some 3,000-5,000 Jews.




  • Jesuit seal
    Twelve Jesuit Priests Awarded with "The Righteous Among the Nations" Title
    Roger Braun
    (1910-1981) - France
    Pierre Chaillet
    (1900-1972) - France
    Jean-Baptist De Coster
    (1896-1968) -- Belgium
    Jean Fleury
    (1905-1982) -- France
    Emile Gessler
    (1891-1958) -- Belgium
    John B. Janssens
    (1889-1964) - Belgium
    Alphonse Lambrette
    (1884-1970) -- Belgium
    Emile Planckaert
    (1906-2006) - France
    Jacob Raile
    (1894-1949) -Hungary
    Henri Revol
    (1904-1992) - France
    Adam Sztark
    (1907-1942) - Poland
    Henri Van Oostayen
    (1906 -1945) -Belgium
    Credit: Rev. Vincent A. Lapomarda, S.J., College of the Holy Cross, MA, USA.

  • Rescuers Speech
  • Three Great Acts of Heroism and Humility



2. Two Countries, Denmark and Bulgaria, that Stood Out and Made a Difference


The Holocaust and Denmark --A Country of Blessed Memory
Five Pictures from the German-occupied Denmark that speak volumes...

Denmark was the only Nazi-occupied country that managed to save 95% of its Jewish residents. Following a tip-off by a German diplomat, thousands of Jews were evacuated to neutral Sweden.

This is one of the great untold stories of World War II: In 1943, in the German occupied Denmark, the Danes found out that all 7,500 Danish Jews were about to be rounded up and deported to German death camps. The Danish people made their own decision: it's not going to happen ...

Bulgaria -- A Most Significant and Complex Case of the Holocaust
King Boris with Hitler

King Boris III --a Hero or a Villain of the Holocaust?
King Boris III (left) in a peril game of defiance and compromise with Hitler:
that led saving almost all of his 50,000 Bulgarian Jews at the expense of some 12,000 Jews from Macedonia and Thrace


In 1945, the Jewish population of Bulgaria was still about 50,000, its prewar level. Next to the rescue of Danish Jews, Bulgarian Jewry's escape from deportation and extermination represents the most significant exception of any Jewish population in Nazi-occupied Europe. [USHMM]

During the war, German-allied Bulgaria did not deport Bulgarian Jews. Bulgaria did, however, deport non-Bulgarian Jews from the territories it had annexed from Yugoslavia and Greece. [USHMM]

The Bulgarian people rallied support for the Jews under the leadership of King Boris III, whose personal defiance of Hitler and refusal to supply troops to the Russian front or cooperate with deportation requests set an example for his country. [


Reference Material On the Saving of Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust:




3. Names of Some True Heroes of the Holocaust:

3A). Raul Wallenberg and Oscar Schindler --Two Legendary Rescuers of Jews


Another Photo of Raoul Wallenberg at his desk in Budapest.

Raoul Wallenberg
at his office in Budapest.

A Schutz-Pass

To see an enlarged Schutz-Pass,
please click in

"Here is a man who had the choice of remaining in secure, neutral Sweden when Nazism was ruling Europe. Instead, he left this haven and went to what was then one of the most perilous places in Europe. And for what? To save Jews. He won this battle and I feel that in this age when there is so little to believe in -- so very little on which our young people can pin their hopes and ideals -- he is a person to show the world, which knows so little about him. That is why I believe the story of Raoul Wallenberg should be told ..." -- Attorney Gideon Hausner, Prosecutor of Adolf Eichmann.



3B). Nicholas Winton of UK, Jan Karski of Poland,
and Zerah Warhaftig, a founding father of modern Israel --Saviors of Thousands of Jewish Lives


A Rare Historic Photograph: Sugihara with Warhaftig
[Courtesy of
Visas For Life Foundation]
(not to be confused with
Eric Saul's Bogus "Visas For Life" Exhibit Project)



3C). Varian Fry and Martha & Rev. Waitstill Sharp --the Only Americans Recognized by Yad Vashem as Heroes of the Holocaust

Martha and Watstill

3D). Diplomats that Made a Difference

Most, but not all, of Europe's consulates turned Jews away.

Paldiel's "Diplomat Heroes"

<> Per Anger, Sweden
Lars Berg, Sweden
Friedrich Born, Switzerland
Angel Sanz-Briz, Spain
Carl Ivan Danielson, Sweden
Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, Germany
Francis Foley, UK
Waldemar Langlet, Sweden
Charles "Carl" Lutz, Switzerland
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portugal

<> Giorgio "Jorge" Perlasca, Italy
Ernst Prodolliet, Switzerland
Aracy de Carvalho-Guimaraes Rosa, Brazil
Monsignor Angelo Rotta, Italy
Jose Santaella, Spain
Chiune (Sempo) Sugihara, Japan
Selahattin Ülkümen, Turkey
Raoul Wallenberg, Sweden
Jan Zwartendijk, The Netherlands






An Open Invitation
to Yad Vashem --The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
for Revisiting the Sugihara Story in View of the New Detailed Documentation Coming From Japan

3E). Ordinary People that Became Extraordinary Through Their Acts of Humanity and Courage


In the dark history of the Holocaust, we can see a few, very few, shining examples of courage and defiance against the overwhelming evil. In the face of cruelty and danger, some people refused to be bystanders and acted, often paying with their own lives. May their blessed memory stay forever in the conscience of humanity.

Miep Gies of The Netherlands


January 11, 2010:

Miep Gies of The Netherlands, who helped hide Anne Frank and her family, dies at 100

Irena Adamowicz, (1910 -1963), Christian Pole
who aided various ghetto underground movements during World War II.

 Born in Warsaw, Adamowicz was a religious Catholic and one of the leaders of the Polish scout movement. She earned her social work degree at the University of Warsaw. During the 1930s she developed an attachment to the Ha-Shomer ha-Tsa'ir Jewish Zionist Youth Movement, and she even took part in its educational and social work activities.
  During the summer of 1942 Adamowicz risked her life by carrying out perilous missions for the Jewish underground organizations in the Warsaw, Bialystok, Vilna, Kovno, and Siauliai ghettos. She both carried important messages between the different ghettos and boosted the morale of the Jews imprisoned in them. She also helped to establish contact between the Jewish underground organizations and the Home Army (the Polish underground militia).
   After the war, Adamowicz stayed in close contact with the surviving members of the Zionist pioneer movements she had worked with and aided. She was designated as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
[Source: Yad Vashem]

Irena Sendlerowa ("Jolonta"), (1916-), Christian Pole
who aided various ghetto underground movements during World War II.

   As head of the children's section of Zegota, the Polish underground Council for Aid to Jews, social worker Irena Sendlerowa ("Jolonta") helped smuggle more than 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto. Hiding them in orphanages, convents, schools, hospitals, and private homes, she provided each child with a new identity, carefully recording in code their original names and placements so that surviving relatives could find them after the war. Arrested by the Gestapo (German secret state police) in the fall of 1943, Sendlerowa was sentenced to death. Zegota rescued her before execution. She assumed a new identity and continued her work for Zegota. [Source: USHMM]

Ona Simaite, (1899-1970), of Lithuania

Ona Simaite, a librarian at Vilna University, used her position to aid and rescue Jews in the Vilna ghetto. Entering the ghetto under the pretext of recovering library books from Jewish university students, she smuggled in food and other provisions and smuggled out literary and historical documents. In 1944, the Nazis arrested and tortured Simaite. She was then deported to Dachau and later transferred to a concentration camp in southern France. She remained in France following her liberation. [Source: USHMM]

Joop Westerweel (1899-1944), of The Netherlands

A teacher in a progressive school, Joop Westerweel helped organize an escape route for young Jews fleeing the Netherlands during the German occupation. From December 1942 through 1944, his underground group smuggled between 150 and 200 Jews to Belgium, on to France, and from there into Switzerland and Spain. Captured by the Nazis and imprisoned in the Vught concentration camp, Westerweel was tortured but refused to reveal his network of contacts. He was executed on August 1, 1944. [Source: USHMM]

Johan Benders (01.07.1907 - 06.04.1943), of The Netherlands



Johan Benders took his own life rather than reveal the whereabouts of those Jews whom he had helped to rescue. He was a teacher at the Amsterdam Lyceum where he had made no secret of his anger over the expulsion of Jews from the school. Benders had encouraged the older students, such as Tineke Guilonard*, to become involved in the falsification of identity and ration cards. Johan's wife, Gerritdina, who worked as a speech therapist, assisted wherever possible, and the couple opened their home as a temporary shelter for Jews. [Source: Yad Vashem]


The Bogaards brothers
During the German occupation, the Bogaards saved more than 300 Jews, many of whom were children. Shown are two Bogaard brothers holding hands with young Jewish guests on their farm, 14 miles southwest of Amsterdam.


Father Bruno of BelgiumFather Bruno, a Belgian monk of blessed memory saved 320 Jewish children.

... Genia then and
55 years latter ...

Reunited in New York in 1998 by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous

... Julian then and
55 years latter ...

Pardoning the Righteous:
Switzerland Pardons Jewish Refugee Helpers


Dr. Janus Korczak, a Jewish pediatrician from Poland, was a writer, educator, founder of an original system of education, and patron of children to whom he remained faithful to the end. Not wanting to abandon the orphans entrusted to his care in the Warsaw ghetto when they were condemned to death by the Nazis, Korczak refused a chance to save himself. He was voluntarily deported, with the children of his orphanage, on August 6, 1942 and died with them at Treblinka. [Photo Credit: Meczenstwo Walka, Zaglada Zydów Polsce 1939-1945. Poland. No. 234.]

Memoral sculpture for Dr. Korczak from Israel, at right. [For detail, please click on the picture.]


Korczak Memorial Stamp
Israeli Memorial Stamp
Janusz Korczak and Children -Holocaust Remembrance
."Janusz Korczak and the Children" at Yad Vashem

The Janusz Korczak Living Heritage Association
.A Tributary Drawing to Dr. Janusz Korczak by Jo Polak, a Dutch teacher at Farelcollege, Ridderkerk, The Netherlands
[For Jo Polak, Dr. Korczak represents a source of continuous inspiration in his daily work wth youngsters.]
In Orphans' Twilight, Memories of a Doomed Utopia
From Israel remembering Janusz Korczak

.   .

4. Heroes of the Holocaust from the Nazi Germany


5. Jewish Rescuers: On the Recognition of Righteous Jews


6. The Nameless Rescuers

7. Tributes to Rescuers:


Righteous of the World
In Front of the Righteous, I Bow

Chaim Chefer

I hear this title and it makes me think
About the people who saved me.
I ask and ask "Oh, my dear God,
Could I have done the same thing?"
In a sea of hate stood my home,
Could I shelter a foreign son in my home?
Would I be willing along with my family
Constantly be threatened by certain evil?
Sleepless dark nights watching out for noise
Hearing footsteps of certain evil.
Would I be able to understand every sign,
Would I be ready for this, could I walk like this
Among those who would betray
Not one day, not one week, but so many years!

There a suspicious neighbor, there a look,
and here a sound --
For that one -- warm -- brotherly clasping of my hand...
Not having any pension -- not having anything for this.
Because a person to person must be a people.
Because a people comes at this time through--
So I ask you and ask you once more &endash;
Could I have done the same if I was in their place?

It was they who went to war every day.
It was they who made the world a place for me.
It was they, the pillars, the Righteous brother,
Who this day this world is founded by.

For your courage, and for your warm extended hand
In front of you , the Righteous, I bow.


To see the Poem's original Hebrew version from Yad Vashem, please click in here.
Its English translation appears in "Those Who Helped" in 1996 and in 1997.
(Published by The Main Commision for the Investigation of Crimes Against the Polish Nation
and The Polish Society for the Righteous Among the Nations, Warsaw, 1996.)

Credits: <savingjews.org>, <citinet.net/ak/polska_27_f2.html>


"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Edmund Burke, Irish orator, philosopher, and politician (1729 - 1797)

Jewish Children in Hiding
Jewish children hiding in a Christian Orphanage in France
Courtesy of
World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of The Holocaust


Holocaust Background Information


Heroes and Heroines of the Holocaust


Faces and Voices of Holocaust Survivors


Holocaust Studies and Related Topics


The Holocaust Argumentative Page


Holocaust Selected Readings, Photos, and Items of Interest


Holocaust Selected Books


Descendants of the Holocaust


Holocaust Related News


Holocaust Memorial Drives

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