The Jewish Rescuer’s Citation was established in 2011 by the B’nai B’rith World Center and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust to pay honor and respect to Jewish rescue of other Jews during the Shoah. To date, more than 170 Jewish heroes have been honored for their daring rescue activities in Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Russia, Lithuania, Poland and Holland, Italy, Morocco, Romania, Belgium, Ukraine, Latvia and Austria.
B’nai B’rith had been involved in promoting the recognition of Jewish rescuers in other ways long before the citation’s creation.
The citation is also meant to show a side of Jewish reality during the Holocaust not often discussed in conversations about the Holocaust: that of Jewish resistance.
The B’nai B’rith World Center and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust announced that they will bestow their joint Jewish Rescuer’s Citation on 16 nominees, all but two posthumously.
Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center, said, “B’nai B’rith is honored to bring to light the phenomena of Jewish rescue and the instructive stories of thousands of Jews who risked their lives to save their endangered brethren throughout Europe. Many who could have tried to flee preferred to stay and rescue others; some paid for it with their lives. With great heroism, Jews in every country in occupied Europe employed subterfuge, forgery, smuggling, concealment and other methods to ensure that Jews survived the Holocaust, or assisted them in escaping to a safe heaven, and in doing so foiled the Nazi goal of total genocide against the Jews. They are role models of Jewish solidarity and courage”.
“It is critical that the effort of Jewish rescuers is remembered and we commit ourselves to sharing these stories that remind us all of the unique role these Jewish rescuers played in our history. There are so many individual stories. It falls on us to make sure these stories are told to personalize what happened” – B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin.