List of individuals and groups assisting Jews during the Holocaust: Wikis


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Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese Consul-General in Kaunas, Lithuania, issued thousands of visas to Jews fleeing Nazi occupied Poland in defiance of orders from his foreign ministry. The last diplomat to leave Kaunas, Sugihara continued stamping visas from the open window of his departing train.
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg and his colleagues saved as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews by providing them with diplomatic passes.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, between June 16 and 23, 1940, frantically issued Portuguese visas, free of charge, to over 30,000 refugees seeking to escape the Nazi terror.

This is a partial list of rescuers who helped Jewish people and others to escape from the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, possibly the most well-known being Oskar Schindler. The list is not exhaustive, concentrating on famous cases, or people who saved the lives of many potential victims. Since 1963, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel, has recognized 22,216[1] people as Righteous among the Nations (as of January 1, 2008). The commission, called The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Israel, organized by Yad Vashem and headed by an Israeli Supreme Court justice, has been charged with the duty of awarding people who rescued Jews, the honorary title of the Righteous among the Nations.


Most prominent examples

Holocaust rescuers came from many different countries in the world.


In the Netherlands

The majority of Dutch were bystanders but approximately ten percent were involved in resistance activities and perhaps a fraction of one percent of those in the resistance took up the dangerous work of trying to hide or otherwise rescue Jews. Miep Gies, the woman who tried to save Anne Frank and her family, is one of the most famous because of the wide dissemination of The Diary of Anne Frank, but there were thousands of others, including Corrie ten Boom, Hetty Voute, Gisela Wieberdink, Rut Matthijsen, Piet Meerberg, Heiltje Kooristra, and Ted Leenders, M.J.Bultena in Uithuizen who was hunted and shot to death by the Nazis after WW2 was over, for helping so many, see commemorative stone on Bultenastraat Uithuizen, Books that report on these individuals include the Corrie ten Boom classic The Hiding Place, The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage[2] by Mark Klempner, Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust by Malka Drucker, Saving the Children by Dutch historian Bert Jan Flim, and Miep Gies' own book, Remembering Anne Frank. Of course, The Diary of Anne Frank also provides vivid descriptions of the efforts Miep and her husband made to try to help the Frank family survive, and keep their hiding place from being discovered by the Nazis, as well as from those Dutch who were collaborating with the Nazis. These days in Amsterdam, visitor may visit both the Anne Frank House and the Resistance Museum to learn more about efforts the Dutch made to resist the Nazis and to protect those targeted by the Nazis for destruction.

In Poland

Until the end of Communist domination much of German-occupied Poland's Holocaust history was hidden behind the veil of the Iron Curtain. Poland was the only country where any help provided to a person of Jewish faith or origin was punishable by death, see Polish Righteous among the Nations. Yet 6,066 men and women (more than from any other country in the world) have been recognized as rescuers by Yad Vashem in Israel.[3] Their real life stories of courage are just beginning to be told.[4] Many of the rescuers were women and children; and teenagers.[5] Poland during the Holocaust of World War II was under total enemy control, half of Poland was occupied by the Germans including General Government and Reichskomissariat; the other half by the Soviets, along with the territories of today's Belarus and Ukraine. The list of Polish citizens officially recognised as Righteous include 700 names of those who lost their lives while trying to help their Jewish neighbors.[6] There were also groups, such as the Polish Żegota organization, that took drastic and dangerous steps to rescue victims. Witold Pilecki, a member of Armia Krajowa, the Polish Home Army, organized a resistance movement in Auschwitz from 1940, and Jan Karski tried to spread word of the Holocaust.

In France

The French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon sheltered several thousand Jews. The Brazilian diplomat Luis Martins de Souza Dantas illegally issued Brazilian diplomatic visas to hundreds of Jews in France during the Vichy Government, saving them from almost certain death.

In Belgium

In April 1943, members of the Belgian resistance held up the twentieth convoy train to Auschwitz, and freed 231 people. Several local governments did all they could to slow down or block the registration processes for Jews they were obliged to perform by the Nazis. Many people saved children by hiding them away in private houses and boarding schools. Of the approximately 50,000 Jews in Belgium in 1940, about 25,000 were deported--though only about 1,250 survived. Marie and Emile Taquet sheltered Jewish boys in a residential school or home.

In Denmark

The Jewish community in Denmark remained relatively unaffected by Germany's occupation of Denmark on April 9, 1940. The Germans allowed the Danish government to remain in office and this cabinet rejected the notion that any "Jewish question" should exist in Denmark. No legislation was passed against Jews and the yellow badge was not introduced in Denmark. In August 1943, this situation was about to collapse as the Danish government refused to introduce the death penalty as demanded by the Germans following a series of strikes and popular protests. During these events, German diplomat Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz tipped off Danish politician Hans Hedtoft that the Danish Jews would be deported to Germany following the collapse of the Danish government. Hedtoft alerted the Danish resistance and Jewish leaders C.B. Henriques and Marcus Melchior who urged the community to go into hiding in a service on August 29, 1943. During the following two months, more than 7,500 of Denmark's 8,000 strong Jewish community were ferried to neutral Sweden hidden in fishing boats. A small number of Jews were captured by the Germans and shipped to Theresienstadt. Danish officials were able to ensure that these prisoners weren't shipped to extermination camps, and Danish Red Cross inspections and food packages ensured focus on the Danish Jews. Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte ensured their release and transport to Denmark in the final days of the war. Denmark rescued around 7,500 Jews en masse in August - October 1943.

In Bulgaria

The Nazi-allied government of Bulgaria, led by Bogdan Filov, did fully and actively assist in the Holocaust in the areas of Yugoslav Macedonia and Greece which it occupied. On Passover 1943 Bulgaria rounded up the great majority of Jews in its zones of Greece and Yugoslavia, transported them through Bulgaria, and handed them off to German transport to be taken to Treblinka, where almost all were killed. It did not deport its own 50,000 Jewish citizens, after yielding to pressure from the parliament deputy speaker Dimitar Peshev and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Nazi-allied government of Bulgaria, led by Dobri Bozhilov, deported a higher percentage of Jews (from the areas of Greece and the Republic of Macedonia that it occupied) to holding camps in Bulgaria and then onto death camps in the north, than did German occupiers in the region.[7][8] In Bulgarian occupied Greece, the Bulgarian authorities arrested the majority of the Jewish population on Passover 1943.[9][10][11][12][13] The active participation of Bulgaria in the Holocaust however did not extend to its pre-war territory and after various protests by Archbishop Sefan of Sofia and the interference of Dimitar Peshev the planned deportation of the Bulgarian Jews (about 50 000) was stopped.

In Portugal

Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes issued 30,000 visas to Jews and other persecuted minorities, though it cost him his career in 1941, when Portuguese dictator Salazar forced him out of his job. He died in poverty in 1954.

In Spain

Several Spanish diplomats contributed very actively to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. The two most prominent ones were Ángel Sanz Briz (the Angel of Budapest), who saved around five thousand Hungarian Jews by providing them Spanish passports, and Eduardo Propper de Callejón, who helped thousands of Jews to escape from France to Spain. Other diplomats with a relevant role were Bernardo Rolland de Miota (consul of Spain at Paris), José Rojas Moreno (Embassador at Bucharest), Miguel Ángel de Muguiro (diplomat at the Embassy in Budapest), Sebastián Romero Radigales (Consul at Athens), Julio Palencia Tubau, (diplomat at the Embassy in Sofía), Juan Schwartz Díaz-Flores (Consul at Vienna) and José Ruiz Santaella (diplomat at the Embassy in Berlin).

In Lithuania

Chiune Sempo Sugihara, Japanese Consul-General in Kaunas, Lithuania, 1939–1940, issued thousands of visas to Jews fleeing German-occupied Poland in defiance of explicit orders from the Japanese foreign ministry. The last foreign diplomat to leave Kaunas, Sugihara continued stamping visas from the open window of his departing train. After the war, Sugihara was fired from the Japanese foreign service, ostensibly due to downsizing. In 1985, Sugihara’s wife and son received the Righteous Among the Nations honor in Jerusalem, on behalf of the ailing Sugihara, who died in 1986. Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, the Italian Giorgio Perlasca, Chinese consul-general to Austria Ho Feng Shan, and others also saved tens of thousands of Jews with fake diplomatic passes.

In Albania

Albania is reputed to have hidden and saved not only all Albanian Jews, but also several hundred Jewish refugees from other countries, including Serbia, Greece, and Austria, although there are those who disagree with this.[14] In 1997, Albanian Muslim Shyqyri Myrto was honored for rescuing Jews, with the Anti-Defamation League's Courage to Care Award presented to his son, Arian Myrto.[15] In 2006, a plaque honoring the compassion and courage of Albania during the Holocaust was dedicated in Holocaust Memorial Park in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, New York, with the Albanian ambassador to the United Nations in attendance:

In 1943, the Nazis asked Albanian authorities for a list of the country's Jews. They refused to comply. "Jews were then taken from the cities and hidden in the countryside," Goldfarb explained. "Non-Jewish Albanians would steal identity cards from police stations [for Jews to use]. The underground resistance even warned that anyone who turned in a Jew would be executed." ... "There were actually more Jews in the country after the war than before—thanks to the Albanian traditions of religious tolerance and hospitality."[16]

In Finland

The government of Finland generally refused to deport Finnish Jews to Germany. It has been said that Finnish government officials told German envoys that "Finland has no Jewish Problem". However, the Secret Police Valpo secretly slated more than 50 Jews, mostly refugees from Germany and Austria for deportation. After public protests the deportations were officially cancelled but 8 Jews were nevertheless deported in 1942. Moreover, it seems highly likely that Finland deported Soviet POWs, among them a number of Jews. The majority of Finnish Jews however, were protected by the government's collaboration with Germany. Their men joined the Finnish army and fought on the front.

In Italy

The situation in Italy was somewhat peculiar in that, notwithstanding Mussolini's proclamation against Jews, most Italians had no personal hatred against them. Liliana Picciotto, the historian of the archive of Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea (Foundation Center for the Contemporary Jewish Documentation) writes that of the 32.300 Jews living in Italy under German occupation, only 8,000 were arrested, whereas 23,500 escaped unharmed. She speculates that the overall percentage of Jews who survived in Italy owed this to the solidarity the persecuted found among the local population.

In Fiume (northern Italy, today Croatian Rijeka), Giovanni Palatucci, after the promulgation of racial laws against Jews in 1938 and at the beginning of war in 1940, as chief of the Foreigners' Office, forged documents and visas to Jews threatened by deportation. He managed to destroy all documented records of the some 5,000 Jewish refugees living in Fiume, issuing them false papers and providing them with funds. Palatucci then sent the refugees to a large internment camp in southern Italy protected by his uncle, Giuseppe Maria Palatucci, the Catholic Bishop of Campagna. Following the 1943 capitulation of Italy, Fiume was occupied by Nazis. Palatucci remained as head of the police administration without real powers. He continued to clandestinely help Jews and maintain contact with the Resistance, until his activities were discovered by the Gestapo. The Swiss Consul to Trieste, a close friend of his, offered him a safe pass to Switzerland, but Giovanni Palatucci sent his young Jewish fiancée instead. Palatucci was arrested on September 13, 1944. He was condemned to death, but the sentence was later commuted to deportation to Dachau, where he died.

Two other Italians distinguished themselves for aiding Jews, though outside of Italy: Giorgio Perlasca, who under the guises of Spanish ambassador in Budapest, was able to put under his protection thousands of Jews and non-Jews destined to concentration camps; and Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, future Pope John XXIII, assisted many Jews and non-Jews to escape by issuing "transit visas" from the Apostolic Delegation in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1944.

In Rome, some 4,000 Italian Jews and prisoners of war avoided deportation, many of them hidden in safe houses or evacuated from Italy by a resistance group organized by an Irish priest, Hugh O'Flaherty. Once a Vatican ambassador to Egypt, Haiti, Santo Domingo and Czechoslovakia, Fr. O'Flaherty used his political connections to help secure sanctuary for dispossessed Jews.[17] Delia Murphy, wife of the Irish ambassador, assisted him.

On 19 July 1944 the Gestapo rounded up the nearly 2000 Jewish inhabitants of the island of Rhodes, which had been governed by Italy since 1912. Of the approximately 2,000 Rhodesli Jews who were deported to Auschwitz and elsewhere, only 104 survived.

In Norway

German demands for the deportation of Jewish refugees from Norway were largely refused.

In China

Between 1933 and 1941, the Chinese city of Shanghai accepted unconditionally over 30,000 Jewish refugees escaping the Holocaust in Europe, a number greater than those taken in by Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India combined during World War II. After 1941, the occupying Nazi-aligned Japanese ghettoised the Jewish refugees in Shanghai into an area known as the Shanghai ghetto. Some of the Jewish refugees there aided the Chinese resistance against the Japanese. Many of the Jewish refugees in Shanghai migrated to the United States and Israel after 1948 due to the Chinese Civil War (1946–1950).

Leaders and diplomats

Religious figures

Prominent individuals

  • Khaled Abdul-Wahab administrator of Mahdia, Tunisia, under German occupation; first Arab nominated for "Righteous Among the Nations" [30]
  • Maria Leenderts and Petrus Johannes Jacobus Kleiss, Dutch merchants in her "Selecta Schoenenwinkel" (located at 248 Dierenselaan in Den Haag) with the cooperation of personnel of the "Quick Steps" soccer club (located on the corner of the Hardewijkstraat and the Nijkerklaan in Den Haag) and the pastor of the "Sint Thersia Van Het Kind Jesus Kerk" (located across the street from the Selecta shoe store and on the corner of the Apeldoornselaan and the Dierenselaan) accommodated many Jewish families throughout the war.
  • Albert Battel - a German Wehrmacht officer.
  • Albert Bedane - of Jersey, provided shelter to a Jewish woman, as well as others sought by the German occupiers of the Channel Islands.
  • Victor Bodson helped Jews escape from Germany through an underground escape route in Luxembourg.
  • Corrie ten Boom, rescued many Jews in the Netherlands by sheltering them at her home. - was sent to Ravensbrück
  • Stefania Podgorska Burzminski and Helena Podgorska at age 16 and 7 (Helena was her sister), they smuggled out of the ghettos and saved thirteen Jews from the liquidation of the ghettos.
  • Sgt.-Major Charles Coward was an English POW who smuggled over 400 Jews out of Monowitz labour camp.
  • Miep Gies, Jan Gies, Bep Voskuijl, Victor Kugler, and Johannes Kleiman hid Anne Frank and seven others in Amsterdam, Netherlands for two years.
  • Alexandre Glasberg, Ukrainian-French priest who helped hundreds of French Jews escape deportation.
  • Friedrich Kellner, justice inspector, who helped Julius and Lucie Abt, and their infant son, John Peter, escape from Laubach.
  • Stanislaw Kielar – two girls from Reisenbach family
  • Janis Lipke from Latvia, protected and hid around 40 Jews from the Nazis in Riga.
  • Heralda Luxin, young woman who sheltered Jewish children in her cellar.
  • Józef and Stefania Macugowscy, hid six members of the Radza family, and several others, in Nowy Korczyn, Poland.
  • Shyqyri Myrto, Albanian rescuer of Jozef Jakoel and his sister Keti.
  • Dorothea Neff, Austrian stage actress, who hid her Jewish friend Lilli Schiff.
  • Algoth Niska Finnish gentleman rogue and alcohol smuggler; smuggled Jews via the Baltic.
  • Irene Gut Opdyke, Polish hid twelve Jews in a German Major's basement.
  • Jaap Penraat - Dutch architect who forged identity cards for Jews and helped many escape to Spain.
  • Tim Pickert rescued dozens of Jews from the ghettoes of Kraków, Poland to hide them in his windmills located on his estate 23 km northwest of the The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Nicolaus Rossini, helped many Jewish orphans - was executed in Kraków-Płaszów.
  • Irena Sendler, Polish social worker who saved about 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.
  • Suzanne Spaak, wealthy socialite who saved Jewish children in France.
  • Marie Taquet-Martens and Major Emile Taquet hid some seventy-five Jewish children in a home for disabled children they were running in Jamoigne-sur-Semois, Belgium.
  • Ilse (Davidsohn Intrator) Stanley, herself a German Jew living in Germany until 1939, made many trips to German concentration camps and secured the release of 412 people. After Kristallnacht when she could no longer make those trips, she continued helping German Jews leave the country legally, until her own departure in 1939.
  • Hetty Voute, part of the Utrechtse Kindercomite in the Netherlands that rescued hundreds of Jews. Her oral history is found in the book The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage by Mark Klempner
  • Gabrielle Weidner and Johan Hendrik Weidner, escape network rescued 800 Jews.
  • Bertha Marx and Eugen Marx assisted in saving Jews through the Resistance forces.
  • JUDr Rudolf Štursa, a lawyer, and Jan Martin Vochoč, an Old Catholic priest, in Prague baptized Jews on demand and issued over 1,500 baptism certificates. [31]

Villages helping Jews

  • Yaruga, Ukraine[32]
  • Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, in the Haute-Loire département in France, which saved up to 5,000 Jews.
  • Markowa, Poland, where 17 Jews survived the war. Many families hid their Jewish neighbours there and some paid the ultimate price.
    • Wiktoria and Józef Ulm, their 6 children and unborn baby were shot dead by the Germans for hiding the Szall and Goldman families.
    • Dorota and Antoni Szylar - hid seven members of Weltz family.
    • Julia and Józef Bar - hid five members of Reisenbach family.
    • Michal Bar - hid Jakub Lorbenfeld.
    • Jan and Weronika Przybylak - hid Jakub Einhorn.
  • Tršice, Czech Republic, many people from this village helped hide a Jewish family, six of them were given the honorific of Righteous among the Nations.
  • Nieuwlande, The Netherlands - during the war this small village contained 117 inhabitants. They unanimously decided in 1942 and 1943 that every household would give shelter to one Jewish household or individual during the war, thus making it impossible that anyone in the small village would betray their neighbours. Dozens of Jews were thus saved. All inhabitants have been honored by Yad Vashem.
  • Moissac, France There was a Jewish boarding home and orphanage in this town. When the mayor was told that the Nazis were coming the older students would go camping for several days, the younger students were boarded with families in the area and told to treat as members of their immediate family and the oldest students hid in the house. When it became too dangerous for the students to stay there any longer they made sure that every student had a safe place to go to. If the students again had to move the counsellors from the boarding house arranged for a new place and even escorted them to the new housing.



  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Yad Vashem - The Righteous Among Nations
  4. ^ Holocaust Rescuers - Stories of Courage
  5. ^ Women and Children of Courage
  6. ^ List of Poles Killed Helping Jews During the Holocaust
  7. ^
  8. ^ The Holocaust in Macedonia: Deportation of Monastir Jewry
  9. ^ The Official Web Site of KIS, the Central Jewish Council of Greece
  10. ^ The Official Web Site of KIS, the Central Jewish Council of Greece
  11. ^ The Official Web Site of KIS, the Central Jewish Council of Greece
  12. ^ The Official Web Site of KIS, the Central Jewish Council of Greece
  13. ^ The Official Web Site of KIS, the Central Jewish Council of Greece
  14. ^ Carl Savich Column on | Front Page
  15. ^ Adl Commemorates Holocaust Day At City Hall; Honors Albanian Rescuer And Recognizes Jewish Survivor
  16. ^ Jewish News, Jewish Newspapers -
  17. ^ Mary Gaffney. "Profile of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty". Terrace Talk. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  18. ^ The Israeli Government's Official Website, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  19. ^ "The Righteous Among Us", Yad Vashem Magazine
  20. ^ Rafael Angel Alfaro Pineda. "El Salvador and Schindler's List: A valid comparison," originally in La Prensa Gráfica (in Spanish) April 19, 1994, reproduced in English by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
  21. ^ El Salvador's Holocaust Hero
  22. ^ a b From Zbaszyn to Manila, by Bonnie Harris, 2005
  23. ^ Western People: Roundfort cabaret honours legendary Delia Murphy
  24. ^ Diplomáticos que salvaron judíos durante el Holocausto | Especiales | Israel en Tiempo de Noticias. Judaismo y Pueblo Judio a diario. El
  25. ^ "Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, the 'Mexican Schindler,' is honored by the Anti-Defamation League", Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec 2008
  26. ^ Haaretz, 02/03/08 (accessed 02/03/08)
  27. ^ Winton's Children - Index Page
  28. ^ The Holocaust in Greece
  29. ^Ковч_Омелян
  30. ^ "First Arab Nominated for Holocaust Honor". Associated Press. 2007-01-30. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  31. ^ "Tisíc pět set zachráněných životů – Schindler nebyl sám" (in Czech). Denní Telegraf Praha. 1995-06-27. pp. 5. 
  32. ^ ЯРУГА: СЕЛО-ПРАВЕДНИК. Борис ХАНДРОС | История | Человек

See also

External links


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