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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Saving Jews with Salvadoran Papers

George Mandel-Mantello (1901-1992), a Jewish businessman from Bucharest who was appointed honorary consul for El Salvador in 1939 and used his status to save thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis, sent another diplomat and friend, Dr. Florian Manoliu, from Switzerland to Hungary to deliver papers for safe passage to Mandel-Mantello’s family on this date in 1944. Their effort came too […]

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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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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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May 11: Turning Post-War Germany into a Giant Farm

Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who operated a Christmas tree farm neighboring the New York State estate of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and became U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in 1934, was born in New York City on this date in 1891. Morgenthau was a champion of American farmers, who constituted some 25 percent of the American […]

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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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