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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February 13: Photographing the Warsaw Ghetto

Joe J. Heydecker, a soldier in the Nazi army who preserved forty-two photographs that he made inside the Warsaw Ghetto in early 1941, was born in Nuremberg on this date in 1916. Heydecker was a journalist and photographer who was ordered into Warsaw to join a propaganda unit. Anti-Nazi in sentiment, he secretly took hundreds […]

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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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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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April 28: Stopping Short of Revenge

Arkadi Timor (Abraham Katzevman), 24, entered the heart of Berlin as commander of the 14th Soviet Armored Battalion on this date in 1945. “The first thing in the morning that the soldiers at the front were waiting for was… to see the postman,” he later said in an interview made in Israel in the 1990s, […]

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