Righteous

I just got back from Poland where I was filming for the Reel Time Images project Righteous: unlikely heroes. You may have heard of the Righteous Among the Nations — it’s a designation given to non-Jews who are proven to have saved Jewish lives at the risk of their own and for no material gain. You know of some of them.
I just got back from Poland where I was filming for the Reel Time Images project Righteous: unlikely heroes. You may have heard of the Righteous Among the Nations — it’s a designation given to non-Jews who, during the Holocaust, are proven to have saved Jewish lives at the risk of their own and for no material gain. You know of some of them.

Certainly there are famous ones, but for every Oskar Schindler or Raul Wallenberg there are literally tens of thousands that you have never heard of who risked everything to save their fellow human beings.

Cynics may reply, truthfully no less, that on the other hand there were millions who stood by and did nothing, or actively collaborated in the destruction of their neighbours. But this does nothing to diminish the courage, or coherence of the actions of those few who turned against the tidal wave of violence surrounding them. They are examples for, and a challenge to, each one of us. They put their lives, and often the lives of their families on the line, to rescue people they often didn’t even known, from certain destruction.

The famous ones tend to be diplomats and industrialists, people who, at great personal risk, were able to parlay their status and rescue dozens, hundreds or even thousands from the slaughter. But among the Righteous there were even more unlikely heroes: cops, and thieves, Christians, Muslims and atheists, capitalists and communists, even close family members of fanatical Nazi’s.

My cousin Joe at the grave of the Polish woman who with her husband (a policeman reporting to the Gestapo) risked their entire family to save him.