Monday, April 9, 2007

21,000 Yad Vashem Non-Jew Holocaust Rescuers

"Yad Vashem has honored more than 21,000 rescuers. The criteria used by its awards commission to screen candidates are stringent and controversial. Only non-Jews are eligible. Jews who saved Jews are not recognized by Yad Vashem or anywhere else. To be considered for the nhonor, a person's deed must be above and beyond the simple offer of a helping hand. The good farmers who gave a bottle of milk and a loaf of bread to my father saved his life, but by Yad Vashem's standards, theirs was an ordinary act of charity.

Yad Vashem's recognition commission also screens out those who saved Jews for personal gain. These include people who were anxious to convert their charges to Christianity, people who wanted to adopt a child, and people who were paid or were promised payment in the future. Candidates must be nominated by the person or persons they rescued, or their candidacy must be supported by other documents of witnesses. Each submission must clearly show that the nominee did not participate in Nazi activities or engage in a rescue effort as a last-minute attempt to fashion a favorable end to their war persona."

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