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Thu Apr 16, 2015, 02:04 AM

Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day: Righteous Among the Nations

Thousands of people put their own lives on the line in order to protect a variety of people who were being targeted by the Nazis. Despite the very real danger of having their own lives ended (and some did die in the camps), they did what ever they could in order to protect friends, and in many cases, people they didn't even know. Many are familiar with people like Oskar Schindler, but there are so many more, unknown to most, but still as important. Here are some of their stories:


Irena Sendler

When Hitler and his Nazis built the Warsaw Ghetto and herded 500,000 Polish Jews behind its walls to await liquidation, many Polish gentiles turned their backs or applauded. Not Irena Sendler. An unfamiliar name to most people, but this remarkable woman defied the Nazis and saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto. As a health worker, she sneaked the children out between 1942 and 1943 to safe hiding places and found non-Jewish families to adopt them.

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Fatima Kanapatskaiya and her daughter Aysha (Anna) Trofimova-Kanapatskaiya (Belarus)

One day an unexpected “guest” arrived at the home of Fatima Kanapatski. Fatima Kanapatskaiya, and her daughter Aysha were Muslims of Tatar origin and lived in Minsk. The guest was Israel Davidson, the husband of Fatima’s friend Fruma.

Minsk was occupied soon after the Geraman Attack on the Soviet Union in the end of June 1941. The murder of the Jews began on July 8, and on July 20, the Jews of Minsk and environs were interned in a ghetto, among them Israel and Fruma Davidson with their children, Rachel, Mira and Vladimir. From there Israel Davidson was taken to the Drozdy camp in the vicinity of Minsk. He managed to escape and, although injured, made his way to the home of the Kanapatskis, his friends from before the war. They took him in, sheltered him for several weeks, and treated his wounds until he recovered. Not wanting to leave his family behind, Israel returned to the ghetto. But after the another murder operation in the ghetto in March 1942, he decided to return to the Kanapatski family. Fatima provided him with a more permanent hiding place in a shed in the woods. Both Fatima and her daughter, Anna (Aysha), took care of Israel. The area was searched several times but the shelter was not discovered. During this period, Israel’s daughter Rachel was able to sneak out of the ghetto a number of times to visit her father in the Kanapatski home. Each time they gave her food for her family before she returned to the ghetto.

In June 1943, when the Minsk ghetto was being liquidated, Fruma Davidson and her three children escaped and joined Israel at the Kanapatskis. They hid there with Israel for one day and then they all fled to a partisan-controlled area. There, in the forest, they joined the partisan unit under the command of Shalom Zorin. The Red Army liberated the area in the summer of 1944.

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Rescue in the Royal Palace: Princess Alice (Greece)

Princess Alice was born in Windsor Castle in 1885, as Princess Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie. Her parents were Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse, granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The Princess was related to most European royal families.

When she was a young child, her deafness was diagnosed and by the age of eight she had become a fluent lip reader. This handicap may have made her especially sensitive to the underprivileged and outcast.

Princess Alice married Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903. The couple had five children: four daughters and a son – the future Duke of Edinburgh and consort to Queen Elizabeth II of England.

During World War II, Princess Alice lived in the Athens palace of her brother in law, Prince George of Greece, and worked with the Swedish and Swiss Red Cross. She found herself in the difficult situation of having sons-in-law fighting on the German side and a son (the future Prince Philip) in the British Royal Navy.

The Rescue of Rachel Cohen and her Children

The Greek royal family had been well acquainted with the family of Haimaki Cohen, a Jew and former member of Parliament, from Tricala, in northern Greece. In 1941, when Germany invaded Greece, the family fled to Athens – then still under Italian rule, where the anti-Jewish policy was more moderate. However the period of relative saftely lasted only until September 1943, when following Italy's surrender to the Allies, the Germans occupied Athens and the hunt for Jews began. By that time Haimaki Cohen had died. His widow, Rachel, and her five children were looking for a place of refuge. The family's four sons wanted to cross to Egypt, and join with the Greek government in exile that was in Cairo. But the trip proved too hazardous for Rachel and their sister. Princess Alice heard of the family's desparate situation and offered to shelter Rachel and her duaghter, Tilde, at her home. They were later joined by another son who was unable to make the journey to Egypt and had to return to Athens.

The Cohens stayed in Princess Alice's residence until liberation. There were times when the Germans became suspicious, and Princess Alice was even interviewed by the Gestapo. Using her deafness, she pretended not to understand their questions until they left her alone.

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18 Months in a Haystack: Pavel & Lyubov Gerasimchik and their children Klavdiya Kucheruk, Galina Gavrishchuk and Nikolay (Ukraine)

Pavel (Pavlo) and Lyubov (Lubka) Gerasimchik and their teenage three children, Klavdiya, Galina, and Nikolay, lived in the village of Szubkow, close to the town of Tuczyn in the district of Równe, Wołyń. In 1935, Pavel Gerasimchik became acquainted with Isaak Khomut (later Emmet), a well-to-do Jew from Tuczyn who was married and had two daughters. When the Germans occupied the area at the beginning of July 1941, unlike most of the locals, Gerasimchik did not turn his back on his Jewish acquaintance. Despite the hardships brought about by the war, his thoughts turned to the Jewish family who were in even greater danger and need, and he told the Khomuts that he would be willing to host them in his home should it become necessary.

In September 1942 when preparations were made to liquidate the Tuczyn ghetto, the Khomut family decided to flee and head for Szubkow. Their attempt failed and they were forced to return to their house in the ghetto. To their great surprise, the following day Gerasimchik appeared at the Khomuts' home and offered to hide the family in his home for a short while. The Khomuts took Gerasimchik up on his offer and when it became dark, Khomut's wife, Polina and their eight-year-old daughter, Lara, secretly left the ghetto and were driven by Pavlo to his village, hidden under the straw in his cart. A few days later, after the ghetto was liquidated, Khomut joined his wife and child. The Khomuts eldest daughter Hanele had been handed over to another family that had promised to save her. Unfortunately, as it turned out, they betrayed her to the authorities and she was killed.

In view of the danger to whoever hid Jews, the decision to take in a Jewish family was probably a very hard decision for Gerasimchik. By agreeing save the Jews he put not only himself, but also his entire family in danger. In fact, intense searches for Jews were repeatedly carried out in the area and locals caught harboring Jews paid with their lives. Gerasimchik was very troubled by having endangered himself and his family. Soon after the Khomuts had arrived, he reminded them that he had only invited them into his home for a short time, and asked them to leave. However, watching the Jewish family preparing to leave the relative safety of his home to what was certain death, Gerasimchik changed his mind and instead of letting his wards move on, started to build a hideout for them under his threshing floor.

What began with an offer of temporary shelter, evolved into Gerasmichik’s hiding the Khomut family for the duration of the occupation. For 18 months Jewish family secretly stayed in two hideouts in the Gerasimchik's yard. Gerasimchik's wife and children played an active role in caring for and saving the Jewish family. They brought them food and cleaned the chamber pots every day, and at night they stood on guard while their charges briefly left the hideout to breathe some fresh air. The entire Gerasimchik family worked hard to provide food for the extra mouths – not an easy task at the time of war. Towards the end of the occupation, as the Germans were retreating, 15 German soldiers billeted themselves on the Gerasimchiks' property. They stayed on the threshing floor exactly above the heads of the hidden Jews. For almost two weeks, until the Red Army liberated the area on February 15, 1944, the Gerasimchiks could not bring the Khomuts food.

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Muslim Rescuers in Albania: Veseli and Fatima Veseli and their children: Refik, Hamid & Xhemal (Albania)

In 1934, Herman Bernstein, the United States Ambassador to Albania, wrote:


“There is no trace of any discrimination against Jews in Albania, because Albania happens to be one of the rare lands in Europe today where religious prejudice and hate do not exist, even though Albanians themselves are divided into three faiths.”

The Mandil family came from Yugoslavia, where Moshe owned a flourishing photography shop. When the Germans invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941, the family fled to the Kosovo province that was under Italian control, where the Jews were relatively protected. Towards the end of the summer of 1942 the fugitives were moved deeper into the Italian controlled area – into Albania – where the majority of the population was Muslim. The family – Moshe and Ela Mandil and their children Gavra and Irena – settled in Tirana. As he was looking up photography shops, Mandil came upon a store owned by one of his former apprentices, Neshad Prizerini. Not only did Prizerini offer Mandil work, but he also invited the family to stay at his home.

In the photo shop Mandil met Prizerini's apprentice, 17-year-old Refik Veseli, who had been sent by his parents from their village, Kruja, to learn the trade of a photographer. After the German invasion of Albania the situation became dangerous for Jews, and Veseli suggested that the Mandils should move to his parents' home in the mountains. Veseli and the Mandils set out on a long journey by mules over rocky terrain. They took side roads, moving during the nights and hiding in caves during the days to avoid detection by the German military.

In Kruja, Moshe and Ela were hidden in a small room above the barn, while their children mingled with the Veseli kids. Sometime after their arrival, Refik's brother, Xhemal brought another Jewish family from Tirana – Ruzhica and Yosef Ben Yosef, and Yosef's sister Finica. The two families stayed with the Veselis in their mountain village until liberation in November 1944. Towards the end of the war the military activity in the area intensified – the Germans were engaged in fighting the partisans – the village was bombed and searches were conducted in the area.

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Chinese Visas in Vienna: Feng-Shan Ho (Austria)

Feng-Shan Ho, the Chinese Consul-General in Vienna, was given the title of Righteous Among the Nations for his humanitarian courage in issuing Chinese visas to Jews in Vienna in spite of orders from his superior to the contrary.

After Austria’s annexation to Nazi Germany in March 1938, the 185,000 Jews there were subjected to a severe reign of terror, which resulted in intense pressure to leave the country. In order to do so, the Nazis required that Jews have entry visas or boat tickets to another country. However, the majority of the world’s nations refused to budge from their restrictive immigration policies, a stance reaffirmed at the Evian Conference, in July 1938.

Unlike his fellow-diplomats, Ho issued visas to Shanghai to all requesting them, even to those wishing to travel elsewhere but needing a visa to leave Nazi Germany.

Many of those helped by Ho did indeed reach Shanghai, either by boat from Italy or overland via the Soviet Union. Many others made use of their visas to reach alternate destinations, including Palestine, the Philippines, and elsewhere, such as the parents of Secretary-General of the World Jewish Congress and Vice Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, Dr. Israel Singer, who traveled to Cuba.

Eric Goldstaub, who had immigrated to Canada, related how, in July 1938, he received Chinese visas for his entire family after spending “days, weeks, and months visiting one foreign consulate or embassy after the other trying to obtain visas for [himself, his] parents and [their] near relatives, numbering some 20 people.”

Lilith-Sylvia Doron, who had immigrated to Israel, met Ho accidentally as both watched Hitler entering Vienna, on 11 March 1938 — a time when physical assaults were being waged by the Nazis against the city’s Jews.

“Ho, who knew my family, accompanied me home,” says Doron. “He claimed that, thanks to his diplomatic status, the [Nazis] would not dare harm us as long as he remained in our home. Ho continued to visit our home on a permanent basis to protect us from the Nazis.”

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Featured here are a number of rescue stories of Righteous Among the Nations.

"Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe"
(Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4:5)

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Reply Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day: Righteous Among the Nations (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Apr 2015 OP
LineNew Reply *
Hekate Apr 2015 #1
ucrdem Apr 2015 #2
one_voice Apr 2015 #3
jwirr Apr 2015 #4
MrBig Apr 2015 #5
Hekate Apr 2015 #6
mylye2222 Apr 2015 #7

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Apr 16, 2015, 02:47 AM

1. *

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Apr 16, 2015, 03:16 AM

2. Au revoir les enfants

. . . is a film by the late Louis Malle, married to Candice Bergen before his death, about a headmaster named Lucien Bunel, or Père Jacques, who ran a boarding school in Fontainebleau that illegally sheltered three Jewish students, for which crime he was sent by the Gestapo to a concentration camp where he died in 1945. The three students died Auschwitz:

Film director Louis Malle was also a student at the school. His film, Au revoir les enfants (Goodbye, Children), is based on his memories of the tragedy that befell Bunel and his three Jewish protégés.



In 1988 Louis Malle told a New York Times reporter: ''This was, for me, by far the strongest impression of my childhood, the memory that remains above all the others in vividness''. He told that he remembers how Father Jacques, as he was being led away with his three Jewish students, turned to the watching students and said: ''Au revoir et a bientot'' (Goodbye and see you soon.) Then, he said, “something took place that was very bizarre. Somebody started to applaud and then everybody was applauding, despite the shouts of the Gestapo to keep quiet”.

On January 17, 1985, Yad Vashem recognized Lucien Bunel, also known as Father Jacques, as Righteous Among the Nations.


from: http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/stories/bunel.asp

I discovered this site recently in connection with this film so thanks for this and the other Holocaust threads BtA . . .

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Apr 16, 2015, 12:15 PM

3. K&R

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Apr 16, 2015, 12:29 PM

4. Marked for reading more later. Thank you. I do not have dry eyes anymore.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Apr 16, 2015, 01:54 PM

5. K&R

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Apr 16, 2015, 05:40 PM

6. My late father in law, Abram, escaped to the Underground (the real one, kids) thanks to...

... Belgian doctors and nurses who (a) told the Nazis he was too ill to be moved and (b) gave him false identity papers. His own family -- wife, children, sister in law, his whole household -- was taken and perished.

Among Pop's many activities in Belgium during those years was this: he took Jewish children to Catholic orphanages run by nuns, and he brought them food. One of those children was one of his nephews. To the end of his very long life, he respected and revered Catholic nuns.

Rest in Peace, Pop. Rest in Peace.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Apr 16, 2015, 05:55 PM

7. Sabine and Miron Zlatin

 

were a couple of Jews who had emigrated in France. Her from Poland and him from Russia.
When Vichy regime ordered Jews to register, Miron complied but Sabine refused.
As they were living in Montpellier the started help children , first by sheltering rhem in towns families and institutions, then as Montpellier came dangerous, thzy found a big house in the small village of Izieu, in the département of Ain.
On April 1944, the shetler wasbdenounced. Gestapo under the orders of Klauss Barbie, the nazi supervising all Rhone Alpes sector,Miron , helpers and educators, and 44 kids were arrested, then detained in the Montluc Jail in Lyon, then deported to Auschwitz. Only one adult came back. Sabine at the time was no home. She was on a mission trip to find a new shelter for the kids.
The Izieu House round up was a key fact fir Barbies indictment as a criminal against humanity later during trial

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