Varian Fry in Vichy France

Varian Fry, an American journalist who helped more than 2,000 Jewish and anti-Nazi refugees escape the Holocaust through Vichy France, died on this date in 1967 at age 59. As a Harvard freshman, Fry was a founder of Hound & Horn, a literary quarterly, which he co-edited with Lincoln Kirstein. When Fry visited Berlin in 1935, he […]

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February 26: A Spanish Rescuer

Sebastián de Romero Radigales (1884-1970), a Consul General of Spain in Athens, Greece in 1943, was recognized by Israel’s Yad Vashem as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” on this date in 2014 because of his efforts to save the Jews of Salonika from death in Auschwitz. Deportations of these began in March 1943, […]

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December 27: The Righteous Nun

Sister Sara Salkaházi, who saved the lives of some hundred Jews in Hungary during the Holocaust, was murdered by the Arrow Cross, the pro-Nazi party of Hungary, on this date in 1944. Salkahazi, born in 1899, was a teacher, journalist, and worker-activist before she took vows in the Sisters of Social Service in 1930. During […]

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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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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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July 1: The Gay Dutch Resistance Fighter

The Westerbork deportation camp in the Netherlands became operational on this date in 1942. Originally established by the Dutch occupation government to house German Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, it became the point of transit to the death camps for tens of thousands of Dutch Jews. One year later on this date, Willem Arondeus, a […]

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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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March 30: Father of the Jews

Capuchin monk Father Marie-Benoît (Pierre Péteul), who provided transport for more than 4,000 Jews from Nazi-occupied France into Switzerland and Spain, was born in Bourg d’Iré, France on this date in 1895. Wounded in World War I, he took vows after the war and became a leading Christian expert on Judaism. Headquartered in a monastery […]

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December 5: Frits Philips, a Righteous Dutchman

Frits Philips, who headed the Dutch electronics company Philips and saved thousands of Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands by requisitioning their labor, died at 100 on this date in 2005. While most of his family fled the Nazis to the United States, Philips stayed and kept the company alive. He had a […]

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