among the Nations
Rescuers assisting Jews
Seven Laws of Noah
|Damaskinos · Ho
Lutz · Schindler
Sendler · Wallenberg
|Nations and groups|
Righteous by country
Righteous among the Nations (Hebrew: חסידי אומות העולם, Chassidey Umot HaOlam, more literally: righteous men of the world's nations, also translated as "Righteous Gentiles") is 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.
When Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by the Knesset, one of its tasks was to commemorate the "Righteous among the Nations". The Righteous were defined as non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Since 1963, a commission headed by a justice of the Supreme Court of Israel has been charged with the duty of awarding the honorary title "Righteous among the Nations." The commission is guided in its work by certain criteria and meticulously studies all documentation, including evidence by survivors and other eyewitnesses; evaluates the historical circumstances and the element of risk to the rescuer; and then decides if the case accords with the criteria.
To be recognized as "Righteous", a person has to fulfill several criteria:
A person who is recognized as "Righteous among the Nations" for having taken risks to help Jews during the Holocaust is awarded a medal in his name, a certificate of honor, and the privilege of having the name added to those on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. (The last is in lieu of a tree planting, which was discontinued for lack of space.) The awards are distributed to the rescuers or their next-of-kin during ceremonies in Israel, or in their countries of residence through the offices of Israel's diplomatic representatives. These ceremonies are attended by local government representatives and are given wide media coverage.
The Yad Vashem Law also authorizes Yad Vashem "to confer honorary citizenship upon the Righteous among the Nations, and if they have passed away, the commemorative citizenship of the State of Israel, in recognition of their actions." Anyone who has been recognized as Righteous among the Nations is entitled to apply to Yad Vashem for the certificate. If the Righteous among the Nations is no longer alive, their next of kin is entitled to request that commemorative citizenship be conferred on the Righteous among the Nations who has died. Recipients who choose to live in the state of Israel are entitled to a pension equal to the average national wage and free health care, as well as assistance with housing and nursing care.
As of 1 January 2009, 22,765 men and women from 45 countries have been recognized as Righteous among the Nations, representing over 10,000 authenticated rescue stories. Yad Vashem's policy is to pursue the program for as long as petitions for this title are received and are supported by solid evidence that meets the criteria.
These figures are not necessarily an indication of the actual number of Jews saved in each country, but reflect material on rescue operations made available to Yad Vashem. See List of Righteous among the Nations by country for names of individuals.
|Country of origin||Awards||Notes|
|Poland||6,135||In German-occupied Poland, all household members were punished by death if a Jew was found concealed in their home or property. Death was a punishment for providing any aid to a Jew, including giving bread or water to passing Jews. This was the most severe law enforced by the German Nazis in occupied Europe. See Polish Righteous among the Nations|
|Netherlands||4,947||Includes two persons originally from Indonesia residing in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, people hiding Jews would usually be punished by either being sent to concentration camps or by being shot (usually after a "trial").|
|France||2,991||In January 2007, French President Jacques Chirac and other dignitaries honored France's Righteous among the Nations in a ceremony at the Panthéon, Paris. The Legion of Honor was awarded to 160 French Righteous among the Nations for their efforts saving French Jews during World War II.|
|Belgium||1,476||Including Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians, née Duchess in Bavaria.|
|Germany||455||Including Oskar Schindler, the businessman who saved over a thousand Jews by employing them in his factory; and Hans and Sophie Scholl, sibling members of the White Rose resistance movement; Captain Gustav Schroeder who commanded the "Voyage of the Damned"; and German army officer Wilm Hosenfeld.|
|Italy||442||Including Laura and Constantino Bulgari , Lorenzo Perrone,  and Giorgio Perlasca|
|Greece||279||Including Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens and Princess Alice of Battenberg.|
|Croatia||106||See Croatian Righteous Among the Nations|
|Albania||63||Toptani, Atif & Ganimet|
|Romania||54||Including Prince Constantin Karadja, credited by Yad Vashem with saving over 51,000 Jews.|
|Norway||42||See Norwegian Righteous among the Nations|
|Switzerland||44||Includes Carl Lutz, who helped save tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews.|
|Bosnia||35||Bosnia only; the source does not count Herzegovina|
|Denmark||22||As per their request, members of the Danish Underground who participated in the rescue of the Danish Jews are listed as one group.|
|United Kingdom||14||This list includes Major Frank Foley, but excludes Sir Nicholas Winton, as he is of Jewish parentage|
|Republic of Macedonia||10|
|Sweden||9||Including Raoul Wallenberg, Per Anger and Valdemar Langlet|
|Spain||4||Angel Sanz Briz, José Santaella, Carme Santaella and Eduardo Propper de Callejón.|
|Estonia||3||Uku Masing and Eha Masing, Polina Lentsman|
|United States||3||Varian Fry, Martha Sharp, and Waitstill Sharp|
|China, Republic of||2||Pan Jun Shun and Feng-Shan Ho|
|Brazil||2||Luiz Martins de Souza Dantas and Aracy de Carvalho Guimarães Rosa.|
|Japan||1||Chiune Sugihara (provided approximately 3,400 transit visas to Jews in need).|
|Luxembourg||1||Victor Bodson, (former Justice Minister and Chairman of the Luxembourg House of Representatives; saved approximately 100 Jews)|
|Portugal||1||Aristides de Sousa Mendes, issued thousands of visas in order to allow 30,000 people to escape the Nazis.|
|Total||22,211||As of January 1, 2008|