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.
The Angel from Auschwitz: The Rescue Activities of Jacob “Jakitto” Maestro in Auschwitz
By: Gideon Greif
The story of the Jews of Greece in Auschwitz contains an especially interesting chapter, one about Jacob “Jakitto” Maestro, a boy who came to Auschwitz when he was only 15 years old. His story not only characterizes the essence of the community where he was born, raised and educated – but also inspires until today those who hear about the story, as this 15 years-old boy became a famous rescuing Jew who saved many dozens of Jews in Auschwitz in the years 1943 to 1945.
How did he manage to do that? What trained this boy to become a rescuing Jew? “Where did you take the power, the initiative?” Jakitto was asked, and he replied: “I don’t know where. I just turned my head, a boy’s head.”
Jakitto became a “personality” in Auschwitz less than 24 hours after his arrival, thanks to a Polish inmate, Jerzy Pozimski, who made the boy his assistant in the inmates work office. Thanks to his status and the access it granted him to the prisoners’ administration documents, Jakitto was able to save hundreds of Jews from sure death by assigning them to “better” work Kommandos. He quickly understood the power he had, due to his unique position in the camp’s administration and used it to save as many Jews as possible, without thinking about the risks he took for himself. How did this young boy become such a courageous person?
As he himself said,...
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