"As a researcher and collector of historical source material, Mr. Gilbert has no peer among
contemporary historians." --The New York Times
According to Jewish tradition, "Whoever saves one life, it is as if he saved the entire world." In The Righteous, distinguished historian Sir Martin Gilbert explores the courage of those who, throughout Germany and in every occupied country, took incredible risks to help Jews whose fate would have been sealed without them. Indeed, many lost their lives for their efforts.
From Greek-Orthodox Princess Alice of Greece to the Ukrainian Uniate Archbishop of Lvov, from priests and soldiers to employees and neighbors, many risked, and sacrificed, everything to help their fellow man. Drawing from twenty-five years of original research, Gilbert re-creates the remarkable stories of the non-Jews who have received formal recognition by the State of Israel as Righteous Among the Nations.
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Henry Holt and Co.
February 01, 2004
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Excerpt from The Righteous by Martin Gilbert
"What were the motives of those who tried to save Jews from deportation and death?" This question is raised with every account of rescue, as the reader, like the historian, wonders whether they would have behaved in such a courageous manner. First and foremost, the Righteous of this book chose to act; theirs was a deliberate decision to behave in a civilized, humane manner, rather than to do nothing, or to refuse to be involved, or to take the route of barbarism.
In the circumstances of a combination of Nazi rule, SS power and Gestapo terror, inaction motivated by fear cannot be belittled. Those who turned against the tide of terror were all the more remarkable. "We did what we had to do"; "Anyone would have done the same"-the words of many rescuers mask the courageousness of the course they chose, knowing it to be full of danger, often the danger of execution of their families as well as themselves. Yet these were not foolhardy, rash or intemperate people; most of them made their choice calmly, deliberately and with full realization of the risks, risks that they faced, and took, for months and even years.