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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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Jews Rescue Jews: Immigration and Illegal immigration during the Holocaust


By: Dalia Ofer

This article examines illegal immigration to pre-state Palestine through the prism of Jews rescuing Jews during the Nazi era. Initially, illegal immigration was not a rescue operation. It was a political operation aimed against the British policy in Palestine and an internal Zionist protest against its own immigration policy. It follows the history of Zionism from its outset, that developed different operational strategies before the rise of Nazism. The term “illegal immigration” represents the perspective of the British, not that of the Jews. The groups that organized this immigration used different terms – Aliyah Bet, Ha’apalah, or Aliyah aztmait (independent). The variety of names given to illegal immigration in Zionist discourse reflects its many facets, which all came to express its positive meaning.1

Aliyah Bet is a multidimensional story: of the immigrants themselves, the organizers and operatives; of forces that worked to stop the flow of refugees and those that sought to exploit it. Its story also constitutes one of ←307 | 308→the most dramatic encounters between the Jewish Diaspora and the Jews of pre-state Palestine (the Yishuv).

In the late 1930s and, in particular, during the Second World War, Aliyah took on still greater significance as a means of rescuing Jews from persecution and ultimately from mortal danger. Normative Judaism has always considered the rescue of Jews to be both the obligation and the privilege of any Jewish individual or organization. From 1938 onward, Aliyah Bet became a prime example of...

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