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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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Jewish Civil Resistance and the Slow Emergence of the Memory of the Holocaust in Belgium


By: Joël Kotek

The memory of the Holocaust has become so omnipresent that one can almost speak of hypermnesia. It almost gives rise to a feeling of saturation, even “overflowing.”1 This phenomenon did not come about by chance: it can be explained by the exceptional nature of the Nazi criminal enterprise (an unprecedented crime), but also by the exceptional nature of those who tried to stop it. For example, the CDJ (Comité de défense des Juifs – Jewish Defense Committee),2 the clandestine organization created in Brussels in September 1942 that succeeded in saving some 3,000 Jewish children from the Nazis, a feat considering that the children’s section of Żegota in Warsaw only managed to get 2,500 Jewish children out of the ghetto from a total population of 450,000 souls. In fact, the hypermnesia of the Shoah can also be explained by the excesses of the period of near-amnesia that preceded it. After the Nuremberg trial, the specific fate of racial deportees ←71 | 72→was largely overlooked. The Holocaust was a secondary, if not a non-event for decades in commemorative, academic, judicial, financial (restitution) and collective memory. In this context, the heroic story of the CDJ was logically ignored.3 It is not until 2012 that the Prime Minister of Belgium apologized to the Jewish community and until 2013 that the Belgian Senate acknowledged the complicity of the state apparatus in the process of destroying the Jews.

Contrary to what our contemporaries...

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