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There were many individual men and women who risked their lives in order to save the lives of potential victims of the Holocaust. These people have often been labeled "Righteous." Their reasons are varied. They include religious or political beliefs, humanitarian concerns, resistance against the Nazis which overcame any personal prejudice against Jews, or personal gain, often payment by Jews in hiding. At great risk to their own lives, these individuals did what they could to rescue others and to resist the Holocaust. Below is an abridged list, there are many whose stories will never be known or told.

Raoul Wallenberg - A Swedish nobleman and diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews. More than 90,000 Jews were deported from Budapest alone. Using personal funds as well as those obtained through the Hungarian government using diplomatic connections, Wallenberg was able to set up safe houses for the Jews so that they could receive food and necessary medical attention. He also provided more than 30,000 Jews with false Swedish passports, allowing them to escape Hungary. During the liquidation of the ghettoes in Budapest by Stalin, Wallenberg was arrested and jailed. Later he was moved to Siberia where it is presumed he died in prison or in a labor camp. Russian sources claim that he died a natural death two years after his arrest. In 1981, the United States Congress awarded Wallenberg an honorary citizenship.

Five-year-old Mania Halef, a Jewish child murdered in the
mass execution at Babi Yar.
Photo from the USHMM Archives.


Dr. Jan Karski - A Polish man who acted as a connection between the Polish resistance and the Polish government in exile. He was smuggled into and later out of the Warsaw ghetto. He later reported his experiences to outsiders, including political leaders like President Roosevelt.

Wladyslaw Bartoszweski - Founder of the Polish resistance who organized an underground organization mostly of Catholics to save Jews. He issued many false passports to Jews outside the Warsaw Ghetto, and was co-founder of the Council for Aid to Jews in the autumn of 1942.

Paul Grinninger - A Swiss border guard, he disregarded orders to forbid Jews entrance to Switzerland. When he was discovered, he lost his position and became a teacher's helper. He is honored with a carob tree at Yad Vashem.

Anna Shmaite - A Lithuanian woman who tried desperately to not only save Jes but to preserve their culture. She used her own ration cards to provide food for orphaned children of the ghettoes, transported important messages amongst Jews, and saved
many books and writings of Jews in her apartment. She was sentenced to death for forging the papers of a young girl to say that she was Shmaite's sister. She was released after her friends paid a high ransom, and when tortured by the Gestapo, didn't reveal anything of the people she had helped.

Pastor Andre Trocme - Religious leader of the French town of
LeChambon-sur-Lignon, where 5000 Jews were hidden and saved.

Chuine Sugihara - A Japanese consular official in Lithuania, Sugihara granted Japanese visas to more than 2000 Jews. Though the visas were only temporary, the Jews were mostly allowed to stay by the Japanese government. Many others who obtained passports or visas from Sugihara went to Palestine, Australia, and South America.

Jan Zwartendijk - Dutch consular official who issued more than 1400 visas to Jews.

Friedrich Born - A representative of the International Red Cross in Budapest, Hungary, Born issued Red Cross documents to nearly one thousand Jews.

Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem Research Institute was established by the Israeli government in 1953 with the goal of researching all aspects of the Jewish tragedy and identifying all the Righteous and honoring them. These rescuers are honored with the planting of a carob tree and a plaque. There are currently more than two thousand trees planted. With each tree, the recipient or a representative of that person receives a medal and a certificate. The medal bears the Talmudic inscription, "Whoever saves a single soul, it is as of he had saved the entire world."