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All Our Brothers and Sisters

Jews Saving Jews during the Holocaust

Edited By Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz and Alan Schneider

The book focuses on the heroism of Jews throughout Europe who risked their lives to save their coreligionists under Nazi rule. The contributors discuss and analyze the actions of Jews who rescued other Jews from the hands of the Nazis. These actions took place, to different degrees, in Germany, in Axis states and all across Nazi-occupied Europe, from the early stages of persecution until the war’s end, in the framework of collaborative efforts and individual initiatives. The Jews who rescued other Jews during the Holocaust came like their non-Jewish counterparts from different backgrounds: men and women, old and young, religious and secular, wealthy and poor, educated and uneducated. The rescue missions took place in ghettos, areas without ghettos, jails, camps, hospitals, children’s homes, schools, monasteries, in hiding. This book focuses on these rescue missions and the people behind them, reminding us of their courage and willingness to act, even when it put their own lives in danger.

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Introduction

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By: Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz

“It often began towards the end of the evening roll call. That’s when the guards would single out individuals or groups for punitive exercises in Buchenwald. Their numbers would be called and they would be made to run on hills of gravel, huge hills that one had to climb up and roll down while the guards jeered.”

“Sometimes I was chosen, and on one of these occasions I lost consciousness from exhaustion. At great risk to himself my blockaltester Erich Eisler stepped out of line, picked me up, and carried me to the hospital, telling the head prisoner there, a Jewish communist like him, that I was a friend who was to be kept alive. Eisler risked his life and saved mine. Had he not done so, the guard would have shot me a few moments later. What was amazing was that he didn’t shoot Eisler for what he did.”

This story, one of the earliest that I heard from my father about his wartime experiences in Buchenwald and Auschwitz, encapsulates the essence of this book: the phenomenon of Jews rescuing Jews during the Holocaust, saving other Jews from the Nazis and their collaborators, often risking their own life, and for no material gain.

Who are the Jews who rescued other Jews during the Holocaust? Like their non-Jewish counterparts, they came in all shapes and sizes: men and women, old and young, religious and secular, wealthy and poor,...

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