In a world of total moral collapse there was a small minority who mustered extraordinary courage to save human lives. These were the Righteous Among the Nations…
Righteous among the Nations (Hebrew: חסידי אומות העולם) is a term used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from the Nazis.
In the rural areas in Eastern Europe bunkers were dug under houses, cowsheds and barns, where the Jews would be concealed from sight.
In addition to the threat of death that hung over the Jews’ heads, physical conditions in such dark, cold, airless and crowded places over long periods of time were very hard to bear. The rescuers, whose life was terrorized too, would undertake to provide food and taking care of all their wards’ needs.
Jews were also hidden in attics, hideouts in the forest, and in any place that could provide shelter and concealment, such as a cemetery, sewers, animal cages in a zoo, etc. Sometimes the hiding Jews were presented as non-Jews, as relatives or adopted children. In Western Europe Jews were mostly hidden in houses, farms or convents.
In order for Jews assume the identity of non-Jews they needed false papers and assistance in establishing an existence under an assumed identity. Rescuers in this case would be forgers or officials who produced false documents, clergy who faked baptism certificates and foreign diplomats .
Photo: Dr. Avishai Teicher