Summary: The stories of righteous gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust are becoming better known with every passing year. Millions have seen the movie Schindler's List, about Oskar Schindler, the righteous German who saved hundreds of Jewish workers in his forced-labor factory under the noses of the Nazis. Many have heard of Raoul Wallenberg, the young Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in Budapest at the end of World War Two.
Here we find other rescuers ...show more from all parts of Europe, from a humble farmer in Lithuania, to a nun in Paris, to a Turkish consul on the island of Rhodes. What they all have in common is that they have been honored by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as Righteous Gentiles. The author, who heads the Righteous Among the Nations program, takes us behind the scenes and shows us how the decision was made in each case, how some did not qualify, and what has been learned from this ongoing search for the righteous.
The purpose of this book is to highlight the positive aspects of human behavior during the darkest chapter in human history, by gathering the sparks of light which pierced the darkness of the Nazi world. These sparks represent glimmers of hope, helping us confront the Holocaust, and not lose hope in ourselves as responsible and caring beings. The hope is that the stories of the Righteous contained in this book will be used creatively as role models, for the mending of a world torn asunder by strife and senseless killings.
The massive documentation available on the Holocaust clearly establishes that this murderous act was carried out as an official government policy, with the participation of an obedient bureaucracy, and with men in uniform. In other words, man the killer during the Holocaust was a person blindly adjusting his behavior to that demanded by his superiors, or his society. On the other hand, man the rescuer following blindly only his own conscience, even if it meant risking his own life. One may thus infer that when man acts on his own, and not at the behest or influence of others, he need not be the irresponsible egotistical and aggressive being portrayed by Hobbes and Freud. Quite the opposite, man the savage manifests himself in situations like the Holocaust, when he abdicates his individuality and acts according to the will and volition of others. ...show less
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