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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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From Insubordination to Resistance in the SS-Sammellager für Juden in Belgium

Extract

By: Laurence Schram

Between 4 August 1942 and 31 July 1944, 25,843 men, women, and children, ranging in age from thirty-nine days to ninety-three years, were gathered in the SS-Sammellager für Juden, the SS assembly camp for racial deportees that had been established in the Dossin barracks in Mechelen.1 From there, 25,272 Jews and 353 Roma and Sinti were deported, in 28 transports, to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Immediately after undergoing the selection process, 15,725 Jews were killed in the Birkenau gas chambers, without having entered the Auschwitz concentration camp’s complex. In addition to these genocidal transports, 218 Jews were sent to Ravensbrück, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen, and Vittel. Only 1,397 of these deportees were alive in 1945, which means that 95 % of the deportees did not survive.

The Dossin barracks, in the Flemish city of Mechelen, played a fundamental role in the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish question’ in Belgium and the North of France. The sole function of the camp was the implementation of the genocide of the Jewish people.

As soon as the first anti-Jewish measures began to be carried out in Belgium, the disobedience of the Jewish population appeared. It would continue to grow as the occupier deployed the myriad aspects of its anti-Semitic policy in the country. Although some Jews did not disclose themselves for the register of Jews kept by the municipal administrations, more of them refused to wear the yellow star, although the penalties for...

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