February 4: Waitstill and Martha

Waitstill Sharp, a Unitarian minister, and his wife Martha, a social worker, left two young children in the care of friends in the U.S. and sailed for Prague on this date in 1939 to help refugees escape Nazi rule in Czechoslovakia. “They stopped several times en route to Prague,” according to the United States Holocaust […]

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May 19: Nicholas Winton’s Children

Nicholas Winton (Wertheim), who helped to organize the Czech kindertransport that saved 669 children, most of them Jews, from Nazism on the eve of World War II, was born to German Jewish parents, converts to Christianity, in London on this date in 1909. Winton was a London stockbroker when he was approached by a friend […]

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April 11: Jaap Penraat, Rescuer

Jaap Penraat, who rescued 406 Jews from the Nazis by smuggling them from the Netherlands to Spain on twenty separate trips, was born in Amsterdam on this date in 1911. Penraat was an interior designer, architect and sculptor who began his resistance work by forging identity papers for Jews. After he was jailed for several […]

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February 13: Righteous Gentiles in France

Three leaders in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a Huguenot community in south-central France that was involved in the rescue of 5,000 souls, including some 3,000 Jews, during the Nazi occupation of their country, were arrested on this date in 1943: Pastor André Trocmé; Edouard Theis, administrator of the Cévenol School and a part-time minister; and Roger Darcissac, […]

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Saving Bulgaria’s Jews: Church, State, and Citizens United

by Jeremiah Lockwood Once I met a Bulgarian sailor in a bar.  Our conversation began with that most delicious of vulnerability-provoking questions: “You a Jew?” The overall suggestion of aggression in his bearing brought out the undertone of violence that lies in the casual probing into the definition of one’s identity by a stranger. There was […]

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June 1: Sanctuary in the Philippines

Alexander Frieder, one of five brothers from Cincinnati who had been manufacturing two-for-a-nickel cigars in the Philippines since 1918, wrote a letter to Dwight D. Eisenhower on this date in 1945, congratulating him on victory in the war in Europe and urging him not to allow “sentimentalists, propagandists, pacifists and the like” to soften his […]

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July 4: He Rescued 40,000

Mexican diplomat Gilberto Bosques Salvidar, who saved tens of thousands of Jews from deportation to Nazi Germany or Spain during World War II, died at 102 on this date in 1995. Bosques was a fighter in the Mexican Revolution (1910-20) and worked as a journalist and then a leftist legislator under President Lazaro Cardenas, who […]

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April 9: Saving Jews in Norway

Sigrid Helliesen Lund, a Norwegian peace activist, burned the entire list of Czech Jewish refugees taking refuge in Norway on this date in 1940, including 100 child refugees in the Jewish Children’s Home in Oslo, which Lund had helped establish the year before. The Nazis and the Quisling government eventually became aware of it and […]

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February 16: For Sale to Humanity

On this date in 1943, the following 3/4-page ad appeared in the New York Times: FOR SALE TO HUMANITY 70,000 JEWS GUARANTEED HUMAN BEINGS AT $50 APIECE “Roumania is tired of killing Jews,” said the text, written and signed by Ben Hecht. “It has killed one hundred thousand of them in two years. Roumania will […]

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