Righteous of the World

More information on attitudes towards Jews in occupied Europe. Within the series of articles we will review the history of rescue to Jews in Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Ukraine, together with the historical context of the German occupation in these countries.

The Righteous in the Balkans

Yugoslavia and Bulgaria belonged to those countries which, from the 1930's and mainly for opportunistic reasons, supported the annexation policies of the Third Reich.

Father Bruno Reynders with Jewish children

The Righteous in Belgium

Those researching the extermination of Jews in Belgium mention three factors which contributed to the survival of a significant part of the Belgian Jewish community.

The church in Gilleleje

The Righteous in Denmark

In October 1943, 95% of Danish Jewry was aided to safety in Sweden by a broad segment of the Danish population. For many, Denmark has served as a beacon of light in a seemingly dark Europe.

Jewish children in the orphange in Rivesaltes (Pyrénées-Orientales)

The Righteous in France

In his work „France, the Dark Years 1940-1944”, Julian Jackson describes the attitude of French non-Jews towards the Jews during the first two years of occupation as ranging from indifferent to hostile.

Dela Wikkerink returns Aaron Jedwab to his parents

The Righteous in the Netherlands

By comparison to France or Belgium, the Netherlands’ percentage of Jewish survival was the lowest. It is assumed that around 58,000 Jews survived (27%). To what extent did the Dutch help Jews to survive?

SA pickets, block the entrance to a Jewish-owned shop

The Righteous in Germany

It is estimated that, between the years 1941 and 1945, around 10-15,000 Jews were in hiding within the Third Reich, among them, over 5,000 hiding in Berlin itself.

Rolf Alexander Syversen

The Righteous in Norway

60% of Norwegian Jewry escaped to Sweden during the War. Most of the them were assisted by groups connected to to the Norwegian resistance movement.

The Righteous in Hungary

Until the spring of 1944, Hungarian Jews remained the largest Jewish community in Europe which had not been affected by mass extermination. That all changed when the Germans occupied their country.

The Righteous in the Ukraine

As in areas of occupied Poland, the decision to come to the aid of Jews brought with it, for the rescuers, the risk of repression and even death from the Germans, as well as from the local collaborators.