The fact of six million Jewish deaths, plus millions more of non-Jews, is well known. However, very little has been told about the approximately two million Jews who survived the Nazi era in Europe, many entirely because of aid given freely by men and women who, asking for nothing in return, sometimes died for their efforts. Estimates are that these rescuers comprised only one tenth of one percent of the population of Nazi-occupied countries.
Rescuers came from every walk of life, including teachers, students, shopkeepers, factory workers, housewives, and farmers. Ages ranged from late teens to eighties. By protecting Jews they were forced into a life of deception in their daily relations with friends, neighbors, and family. For years on end they lived in constant fear of betrayal or accidental exposure, knowing full well that the most severe punishment would be the consequence of helping Jewish people, if they were caught.
The men and women who performed these incredible deeds of self-effacing heroism were quite unexceptional in most other ways; they were ordinary people who responded to extraordinary circumstances in a morally exemplary fashion. In a world forever changed by the devastating horror of the Holocaust, their personal stories provide an example for the potential of the human spirit.
In this book you will find true stories narrated by six rescuers accompanied by the narratives of thirteen people whom they rescued. Three stories take place in Holland; the others are set in Poland and Czechoslovakia. Contemporary photographic portraits of the rescuers and people whom they helped were made by the author, while vintage photographs and other documents relating to the individual rescue stories were collected from the subjects' personal albums and historical archives.
TO SAVE A LIFE: STORIES OF JEWISH RESCUE has been designed to work optimally on Netscape and Internet Explorer web browsers.