Righteous Among the Nations
Righteous Among the Nations (Hebrew: חסידי אומות העולם, khassidey umot ha-olam "righteous (plural) of the world's nations") is an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis.
When Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by the Knesset, one of its tasks was to commemorate the "Righteous among the Nations". The Righteous were defined as non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Since 1963, a commission headed by a justice of the Supreme Court of Israel is charged with the duty of awarding the honorary title "Righteous among the Nations". The commission is guided in its work by certain criteria and meticulously studies all documentation, including evidence by survivors and other eyewitnesses; evaluates the historical circumstances and the element of risk to the rescuer; and then decides if the case accords with the criteria.
To be recognized as "Righteous", a person has to fulfill several criteria:
- only a Jewish party can put a nomination forward;
- helping a family member or Jewish person convert to Christianity is not a criterion for recognition;
- the assistance has to be repeated and/or substantial; and
- the assistance has to be given without any financial gain expected in return (although covering normal expenses such as rent or food is acceptable).
A person who is recognized as "Righteous among the Nations" for having taken risks to help Jews during the Holocaust is awarded a medal in his/her name, a certificate of honor, and the privilege of having the name added to those on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. (The last is in lieu of a tree planting, which was discontinued for lack of space.) The awards are distributed to the rescuers or their next-of-kin during ceremonies in Israel, or in their countries of residence through the offices of Israel's diplomatic representatives. These ceremonies are attended by local government representatives and are given wide media coverage.
The Yad Vashem Law also authorizes Yad Vashem "to confer honorary citizenship upon the Righteous among the Nations, and if they have passed away, the commemorative citizenship of the State of Israel, in recognition of their actions." Anyone who has been recognized as Righteous among the Nations is entitled to apply to Yad Vashem for the certificate. If the Righteous among the Nations is no longer alive, their next of kin is entitled to request that commemorative citizenship be conferred on the Righteous among the Nations who has died. Recipients who choose to live in the state of Israel are entitled to a pension equal to the average national wage and free health care, as well as assistance with housing and nursing care.
In total, 24,811 (as of 1 January 2013[update]) men and women from 45 countries have been recognized as Righteous among the Nations, representing over 10,000 authenticated rescue stories. Yad Vashem's policy is to pursue the program for as long as petitions for this title are received and are supported by solid evidence that meets the criteria.
By country and ethnic origin 
These figures are not necessarily an indication of the actual number of Jews saved in each country, but reflect material on rescue operations made available to Yad Vashem. See List of Righteous among the Nations by country for names of individuals.
|Country of origin||Awards||Notes|
|Poland||6,394||It includes a veriety of individuals and organisations: Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who served in the Polish Underground and the Żegota resistance organization in Warsaw, saving 2,500 Jewish children, Jan Karski whp reported the situation of the Jews in occupied Poland, Tadeusz Pankiewicz, a Kraków pharmacist, a social worker Henryk Sławik, a scientist Rudolf Weigl, a leader scout Irena Adamowicz, a Polish resistance fighter Maria Kotarba, Józef and Wiktoria Ulma, a family of farmers murdered with their 6 children for helping the Jews, and Leopold "Poldek" Socha, a sewer inspector who hid a group of Jews in a remote corner of the Lwow sewers. See Polish Righteous among the Nations|
|Netherlands||5,269||Includes two persons originally from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) residing in the Netherlands. Includes Corrie ten Boom; Frits Philips who ran Philips during the German occupation; Gertruida Wijsmuller-Meier, who helped save about 10,000 Jewish children from Germany and Austria; Jan Zwartendijk, who as a Dutch consular representative in Kaunas issued exit visa used by between 6,000 and to 10,000 Jewish refugees; includes three organisations or collectives: the collective participants of the so-called 'Amsterdam dock strike' (also known as the February strike, about 30-50,000 people who on 25/26 February 1941 launched the first strike against persecution of the Jews in nazi-occupied Europe), the whole village of Nieuwlande (117 inhab.) and the resistance group, NV groep (for saving Jewish children).|
|France||3,654||In January 2007, French President Jacques Chirac and other dignitaries honored France's Righteous among the Nations in a ceremony at the Panthéon, Paris. The Legion of Honor was awarded to 160 French Righteous among the Nations for their efforts saving French Jews during World War II.|
|Ukraine||2,441||Daniil Tymchina, hieromonk of the Univ Lavra (2008); Klymentiy Sheptytsky, the Archimandrite of the Studite monks of Greek-Catholic Monastery (1995); Stepan Omelianiuk (1982)[who?]|
|Belgium||1,635||Including Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians|
|Lithuania||844||See Lithuanian Righteous among the Nations, Kazys Binkis, Ona Šimaitė|
|Hungary||806||Including Zoltán Lajos Bay (physicist); Béla Király ("Father of radar-astronomy"); Géza Ottlik (author); Endre Szervánszky (composer); Paulina and Ilona Kolonits (the latter a documentary film director); Father Raile Jakab, S.J.|
|Italy||563||Including Laura and Constantino Bulgari, Lorenzo Perrone, Francesco Repetto and Giorgio Perlasca|
|Germany||525||Including Oskar Schindler, the businessman who saved more than 1,000 Jews by employing them in his factory; Captain Gustav Schröder who commanded the "Voyage of the Damned"; German army officers Wilm Hosenfeld and Heinz Drossel; German army Major Karl Plagge; resistance fighter Hans von Dohnányi, and writer Armin Wegner|
|Greece||315||Including Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens and Princess Alice of Battenberg|
|Latvia||135||Including Jānis Lipke|
|Serbia||131||Including Aleksandar Petrović, Vidosava Petrović Milenković and the Very Rev Svetozar Milenković|
|Czech Republic||109||Victor Kugler one of the Anne Frank helpers[clarification needed]|
|Austria||92||Including Irene Harand, Florian Tschögl, and Kurt Reinhard|
|Albania||69||See Albanian Righteous among the Nations|
|Romania||60||Including Prince Constantin Karadja, credited by Yad Vashem with saving more than 51,000 Jews|
|Norway||50||See Norwegian Righteous among the Nations; the Norwegian Underground is listed as one group|
|Switzerland||45||Including Carl Lutz, who helped save tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||42|
|Denmark||22||As per their request, members of the Danish Underground who participated in the rescue of the Danish Jews are listed as one group|
|Bulgaria||20||Dimitar Peshev; Metropolitan Stefan of Sofia and Metropolitan Kiril of Plovdiv of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church|
|United Kingdom||19||This list includes Major Frank Foley but excludes Nicholas Winton (as he was of Jewish parentage)|
|Macedonia||10||Including Smiljan Cekada (hr), Boris Altiparmak and Stojan Siljanovski|
|Sweden||10||Including Raoul Wallenberg, Per Anger and Valdemar Langlet|
|Spain||6||Ángel Sanz Briz, José and Carmen Santaella (es), and Eduardo Propper de Callejón|
|Estonia||3||Uku and Eha Masing and Polina Lentsman|
|United States||3||Varian Fry, Martha Sharp, and Waitstill Sharp|
|Brazil||2||Luiz Martins de Souza Dantas and Aracy de Carvalho Guimarães Rosa|
|Republic of China||2||Pan Jun Shun and Feng-Shan Ho (provided approximately 2,000 visas to Jews in need during his tenure as ambassador of ROC to Vienna in 1938)|
|Portugal||2||Aristides de Sousa Mendes, issued 30,000 visas to people escaping the Nazis
Carlos Sampaio Garrido, sheltered about 1,000 Jews in safe-houses in Budapest and gave them Portuguese documents to leave the country
|Chile||1||Maria Edwards McClure|
|El Salvador||1||José Castellanos Contreras (provided Salvadoran citizenship papers to approximately 13,000 Central European Jews)|
|Japan||1||Chiune Sugihara (provided approximately 3,400 transit visas to Jews in need)|
|Luxembourg||1||Victor Bodson (former Justice Minister and Chairman of the Luxembourg House of Representatives; saved approximately 100 Jews)|
|Turkey||1||Selâhattin Ülkümen, Necdet Kent, and Namık Kemal Yolga|
|Vietnam||1||Paul Nguyễn Công Anh|
|Total||24,356||As of 2013[update]|
Righteous in Israel 
At least 130 righteous gentiles have settled in Israel. They were welcomed by Israeli authorities, and were granted citizenship. In the mid-1980s, they became entitled to special pensions. Some of them settled in British Mandatory Palestine before Israel's establishment shortly after World War II, or in the early years of the new state of Israel, while others came later. The ones who came in the early days came to speak fluent Hebrew and integrated into Israeli society.
See also 
- Conversion to Judaism
- List of people who helped Jews during the Holocaust
- List of Righteous among the Nations by country
- Seven Laws of Noah, a list of seven moral imperatives which, according to the Talmud, were given by God to Noah as a binding set of laws for all mankind.
- Virtuous pagan
- Zegota, a council to aid the Jews in occupied Poland.
- William Cooper
- Edwin Holt Hughes
- Jan and Anna Puchalski
- Ivan Vranetić
- Gunnar S. Paulsson, “The Rescue of Jews by Non-Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland,” published in The Journal of Holocaust Education, volume 7, nos. 1 & 2 (summer/autumn 1998): pp.19–44. Reprinted in “Collective Rescue Efforts of the Poles”, p. 256
- "About the Righteous: Statistics". The Righteous Among The Nations. Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
- "First Arab Nominated for Holocaust Honor". Associated Press. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2007.
- "Jacques Chirac Honors French World War II Saviors". European Jewish Congress. 11 April 2007.. Includes Johan Hendrik Weidner, head of Dutch-Paris Underground whose organization saved over 800 Jews and over 100 allied airmen.
- Israel Gutman, Bracha Rivlin e Liliana Picciotto, I giusti d'Italia: i non ebrei che salvarono gli ebrei, 1943-45 (Mondadori: Milano 2006), pp. 75-76.
- "Minutes of the Sub-Commission for the Recognition of the "Righteous Among the Nations"" (in German). Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 18 April 2005. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- "The Righteous Among the Nations Department"" (in English). Yad Vashem. 2005. Retrieved 01 April 2013.
- The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage, Mark Klempner, ISBN 0-8298-1699-2, The Pilgrim Press.
- Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: Genocide and Moral Obligation, David P. Gushee, ISBN 1-55778-821-9, Paragon House Publishers.
- The Lexicon of the Righteous Among the Nations, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. (volumes: Poland, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Europe I, Europe II).
- To Save a Life: Stories of Holocaust Rescue, Land-Weber, Ellen, ISBN 0-252-02515-6, University of Illinois Press.
- The Seven Laws of Noah, Lichtenstein, Aaron, New York: The Rabbi Jacob Joseph School Press, 1981, ASIN B00071QH6S.
- The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism, Novak, David, ISBN 0-88946-975-X, New York and Toronto: Edwin Mellen Press, 1983.
- The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, Paldiel, Mordecai, ISBN 0-88125-376-6, KTAV Publishing House, Inc.
- Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands, Robert Satloff, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, (PublicAffairs, 2006) ISBN 1-58648-399-4.
- When Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland, Tec, Nechama, ISBN 0-19-505194-7, Oxford University Press.
- Zegota: The Council to Aid Jews in Occupied Poland 1942-1945, Tomaszewski, Irene & Werbowski, Tecia, ISBN 1-896881-15-7, Price-Patterson.
- Tolerance in Judaism: The Medieval and Modern Sources, Zuesse, Evan M., In: The Encyclopaedia of Judaism, edited by Jacob Neusner, A. Avery-Peck, and W.S. Green, Second Edition, ISBN 90-04-14787-X, Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2005, Vol. IV: 2688-2713.
- When Courage Was Stronger Than Fear: Remarkable Stories of Christians Who Saved Jews from the Holocaust by Peter Hellman. 2nd edition, ISBN 1-56924-663-7, Marlowe & Companym, 1999.
- Rescue and Flight: American Relief Workers Who Defied the Nazis, Subak, Susan Elisabeth, University of Nebraska Press, 342 pp., 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Righteous Among the Nations|
- The Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem.
- Story of Dutch Righteous Gentile Rut Matthijsen
- Polish Righteous at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
- Heroes and Heroines of the Holocaust at the Holocaust Survivors' Network.
- Holocaust Rescuers Bibliography
- Saving Jews: Polish Righteous
- Photo gallery on righteous gentiles during the Holocaust at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
- Rescuers at the Jewish Virtual Library.
- Holocaust Memorial Budapest, testimony from the family Jakobovics in 1947
- Articles about Righteous Among the Nations
- Witness: "Karoly Szabo played a determining role among Wallenberg's supporters"
- The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous
- Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State
- Site commemorating Poles who gave their lives to save Jews
- Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide Committee
- Essay: "Paying the ultimate price" by Irena Steinfeldt, The Jerusalem Post, 14 April 2009
- Films, Videos, and DVDs about Righteous Among the Nations
- Website of educational project Inidfference Hurts, workshop scenarios based on stories of polish and german Righteous
- Database about french righteous and anonymous who help them, and resistances
- Holocaust Heroes Budapest Hungary Righteous Among The Nations