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September 20: The Turkish Consul Who Saved Jews

Necdet Kent, who as Turkish vice-consul in France saved dozens of Turkish Jews living in France from being deported to Nazi death camps, died at 91 on this date in 2002. Kent served his government in Marseilles, a point of embarkation for many Jews fleeing Europe, from 1941 to 1944. In 1943, upon learning that […]

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August 24: Hitler Halts “Euthanasia”

Adolf Hitler ordered cessation of Operation T4, the killing of patients in mental hospitals and other institutions for disabled and dependent human beings, on this date in 1941, in response to public protests in Germany. “Meticulous records discovered after the war,” according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, “documented 70,273 deaths by gassing at the […]

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July 30: The Business Magnate Who Saved Jews

Berthold Beitz, who as a young German oil industrialist saved more than 250 Jews in the Western Ukraine by extricating from a transport train to the Belzec extermination camp by claiming them as important workers, died at 99 on this date in 2013. “I should have employed qualified personnel,” he later recalled. “Instead, I chose […]

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July 18: The Cyclist Who Saved Jews

Gino Bartali, a champion Italian cyclist who during World War II saved a family of Jews in his cellar and carried messages and documents by bicycle to the Italian Resistance, was born in Florence on this date in 1914. He began racing at age 13, was the Italian national champion by 22, and won the […]

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The Legacy of Hannah Senesh

A SOCIALIST ZIONIST HEROINE by Isabel Pearlman Published in Jewish Currents in 1974; republished in Autumn 2015 HANNAH SENESH, born July 17, 1921, was Hungarian, Jewish, gifted, and attractive, with an exceptionally appealing personality. She lived in a large house in Budapest “that’s in a wonderful position, and has a beautiful big garden.” So she […]

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July 9: Assassinating a Nazi

David Frankfurter, a Croatian Jew who in 1936 assassinated Wilhelm Gustloff, a leading Nazi in Switzerland, was born on this date in 1909. Frankfurter, the son of a rabbi, was studying medicine in Germany when the Nazis came to power. He continued his studies in Bern, Switzerland in 1934, where he witnessed growing Nazi sentiment […]

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July 8: I Shall Betray Tomorrow, Not Today

Marianne Cohn, a German-born Jew who was active in the French Resistance and helped to smuggle groups of Jewish children to Switzerland, was beaten to death by the Gestapo on this date in 1944. She was 22 years old.  Jewish members of the Resistance had prepared a rescue plan for her, but she refused to […]

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June 24: The Infiltrator

Jan Karski, a non-Jewish Polish resistance fighter against Nazism who in 1942 infiltrated both the Warsaw Ghetto (twice) and a transit camp near the Bełżec death camp and reported the information he gathered to the Polish government-in-exile as well as the British and American governments, was born in Lodz on this date 1914. Karski was […]

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May 12: Frania Beatus, Ghetto Courier

Frania Beatus, 17, a Warsaw Ghetto partisan who served as a fighter and a courier between the ghetto and the rest of the city, conveying messages, bribes, and armaments, committed suicide on this date in 1943, three weeks after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had begun, prompted by the knowledge that much of the Jewish Fighting […]

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