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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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The Bernese Group: A Major Joint Polish-Jewish Rescue Operation

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By: Mordecai Paldiel

In an amazing story of Jewish-Polish cooperation that lasted from 1941 until very late into World War II, a group of Jewish rescue activists located in Switzerland worked closely with official Polish diplomats, stationed in Bern, to save thousands of Jews from extermination in countries dominated by Nazi Germany. The Polish legation in Switzerland was headed by Aleksander Ładoś, as his country’s London-based government-in-exile’s chargé d’affaires, but actually of ambassadorial status.1 His immediate diplomatic aides were Stefan Ryniewicz and Konstanty Rokicki, as well as the Jewish Polish-born Julius Kühl who was employed in the legation to deal mainly with Polish Jewish refugees in Switzerland. The foremost Jewish rescue activists were Avraham Silberschein, a pre-war member of the Polish parliament (Sejm), as well as a leading member in the Zionist movement, and then in Switzerland representing the World Jewish Congress, under a special rescue section known as Relico. Alongside him, Rabbi Chaim Israel Eiss, representing the Agudath Israel movement in Switzerland. Finally, Yitzhak and Recha Sternbuch, a couple who represented the New York-based rescue committee, known as Vaad Hatzalah. These Jewish rescue activists worked closely with Kühl and the other Polish diplomats in a vast operation to save as many Jews as possible, who found themselves ←291 | 292→trapped in German-occupied countries, mostly through the use of fake Latin American passports.

In 1939 Abraham Silberschein created the World Jewish Congress subdivision Relico in Geneva to assist Jewish people in need as a...

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