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Righteous Among the Nations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Righteous Among the Nations (Hebrew: חֲסִידֵי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם, ḥasidei ummot ha`olam "righteous (plural) of the world's nations") is an honorific 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. The term originates with the concept of "righteous gentiles", a term used in rabbinic Judaism to refer to non-Jews, called ger toshav, who abide by the Seven Laws of Noah.

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  • ✪ Honoring Righteous Among the Nations Master Sargeant Roddie Edmonds
  • ✪ Exploring Yad Vashem's "Righteous Among the Nations"
  • ✪ The Righteous Among the Nations
  • ✪ Oskar Schindler Righteous Among the Nations
  • ✪ Child Holocaust survivor describes rescue by Righteous Among the Nations


The Talmud teaches us that if a person saves one life, it is as if they've saved an entire world. American forces landing in Europe, on their way to victory The Nazi officer in the POW camp, made his order clear Jewish American POWs were to be separated and sent to their death. But Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, ordered more than 1,000 American captives to step forward with him and he pronounce "We are all Jews." And this German Major takes out his “Luger” points it at Edmond’s head And he said “You will order The Jewish American soldiers to step forward or I will shoot you right now”. Survivor testimony is the first step in a long and complicated process during which Yad Vashem researchers Dig through archives Pour over testimonies Verify the facts All in an effort to pay tribute to the Righteous Among the Nations Would we have the courage of Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds? Roddie looked evil in the eye and dared a Nazi to shoot and he saved some 200 Jewish American soldiers as a consequence. Many stories are still unknown. Survivors and witnesses are dying and time is running out. Your gift can make all the difference. Donate Now.



When Yad Vashem, the Shoah 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". Guided in its work by certain criteria, the commission 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 meets the criteria. Those criteria are:[1]

  • Only a Jewish party can put a nomination forward
  • Helping a family member, or helping a Jew who converted to Christianity is not a criterion for recognition;
  • Assistance has to be repeated or substantial
  • Assistance has to be given without any financial gain expected in return (although covering expenses such as food is acceptable)

The award has been given without regard to the social rank of the helper. It has been given to royalty such as Princess Alice of Battenberg, Queen Mother Helen of Romania and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium but also to others like the philosopher Jacques Ellul and to Amsterdam department store employee Hendrika Gerritsen.[2][3]

Memorial tree in Jerusalem, Israel honoring Irena Sendler, a Polish Roman Catholic nurse who saved 2,500 Jews
Memorial tree in Jerusalem, Israel honoring Irena Sendler, a Polish Roman Catholic nurse who saved 2,500 Jews
The Righteous Medal of Marta Bocheńska
The Righteous Medal of Marta Bocheńska

A person who is recognized as Righteous for having taken risks to help Jews during the Holocaust is awarded a medal in their 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 authorizes Yad Vashem "to confer honorary citizenship upon the Righteous Among the Nations, and if they have died, the commemorative citizenship of the State of Israel, in recognition of their actions". Anyone who has been recognized as "Righteous" is entitled to apply to Yad Vashem for the certificate. If the person is no longer alive, their next of kin is entitled to request that commemorative citizenship be conferred on the Righteous who has died.

The Righteous Diploma of Maria Kotarba
The Righteous Diploma of Maria Kotarba

In total, 27,362 (as of 1 January 2018)[4] men and women from 51 countries have been recognized,[4] amounting to more than 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 evidence that meets the criteria.[5]

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.

Righteous settled in Israel

At least 130 Righteous Gentiles have settled in Israel. They were welcomed by Israeli authorities, and were granted citizenship. In the mid-1980s, they became entitled to special pensions. Some of them settled in British Mandatory Palestine before Israel's establishment shortly after World War II, or in the early years of the new state of Israel, while others came later. Those who came earlier often spoke fluent Hebrew and have integrated into Israeli society.[6]

Other signs of veneration

A Righteous Among the Nations award ceremony in the Polish Senate, 2012
A Righteous Among the Nations award ceremony in the Polish Senate, 2012

The Righteous are honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church in the United States on 16 July. A Righteous from Italy, Edward Focherini, was beatified by the Catholic Church on 15 June 2013.[7]

1940 issued visa by Consul Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania
1940 issued visa by Consul Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania
Polish passport extended in 1941 by Righteous Among the Nations Chilean diplomat Samuel del Campo
Polish passport extended in 1941 by Righteous Among the Nations Chilean diplomat Samuel del Campo
Jan Zwartendijk hand signed visa from 1940
Jan Zwartendijk hand signed visa from 1940
University study booklet issued to Polish Righteous Among the Nations Wladyslaw Smolski in 1938.
University study booklet issued to Polish Righteous Among the Nations Wladyslaw Smolski in 1938.

In 2015, Lithuania's first street sign honoring a Righteous Among the Nations was unveiled in Vilnius.[8] The street is named Simaites Street, after Ona Šimaitė, a Vilnius University librarian who helped and rescued Jewish people in the Vilna Ghetto.[8]

Number of awards by country

As of 16 June 2017, the award has been made to 26,513 people.[4]

Rank Country Number of awards
1  Poland 6,863
2  Netherlands 5,595
3  France 3,995
4  Ukraine 2,573
5  Belgium 1,731
6  Lithuania 891
7  Hungary 844
8  Italy 682
9  Belarus 641
10  Germany 601
11  Slovakia 572
12  Greece 335
13  Russia 204
14  Serbia 139
15  Latvia 136
16  Czech Republic 118
17  Croatia 117
18  Austria 109
19  Moldova 79
20  Albania 75
21  Norway 67
22  Romania 60
23   Switzerland 49
24  Bosnia and Herzegovina 47
25  Armenia 24
26  Denmark,  United Kingdom 22
28  Bulgaria 20
29  North Macedonia,  Sweden 10
31  Slovenia 15
32  Spain 9
33  United States 5
34  Estonia,  Turkey,  Portugal 3
37  Brazil,  Chile,  Indonesia,  Peru,  China 2
42  China,  Cuba,  Ecuador,  Egypt,  El Salvador,  Georgia,  Ireland,  Japan,  Luxembourg,  Montenegro,  Vietnam 1

See also


  1. ^ Gunnar S. Paulsson, "The Rescue of Jews by Non-Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland", The Journal of Holocaust Education, volume 7, nos. 1 & 2 (summer/autumn 1998): pp. 19–44. Reprinted in "Collective Rescue Efforts of the Poles", p. 256.
  2. ^ Gerritsen, Hendrika Jacoba (Heinsius), in The Righteous Among the Nations. Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, retrieved online 6 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Familieberichten" [Family notices]. Het Parool. 28 December 1990. Retrieved 13 April 2018 – via Delpher.
  4. ^ a b c "About the Righteous: Statistics". Names of Righteous by Country. Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. 1 January 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  5. ^ "First Arab Nominated for Holocaust Honor". Associated Press. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2007.
  6. ^ "Story in The Forward re Righteous Gentiles who settled in Israel". Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Odoardo Focherini: Late journalist, hero and Blessed of the Catholic Church". Rome Reports. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Lithuania's first street honoring Holocaust Righteous unveiled in Vilnius | Jewish Telegraphic Agency". 25 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.


External links

This page was last edited on 5 December 2019, at 17:39
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