Books by Eva Fogelman

Released: April 1, 1994

Fogelman's survey of heroic subversion of the Nazi genocide of the Jews by non-Jews begins with the story of her own father, Simcha Fogelman, rescued by a Russian baker in the Byelorussian town of Illya in 1942. The odd thing about many of these rescuers- -like the currently famous Oskar Schindler or Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenburg—is that they were frequently notorious rakes, thieves, and embezzlers—in other words, outright criminals. Fogelman (Center for Social Research/CUNY) tries in this ample study to understand the particular background and conditioning that produces a ``rescuer'' as opposed to either a passive bystander or an active accessory. And an extraordinary gallery of characters is brought to life: Angel Sanz-Briz, the Spanish minister in Budapest who issued thousands of phony Spanish passports to Hungarian Jews; Miep Gies, the rescuer—for a time—of Anne Frank; Stefaniz Podgorska, a teenage girl who smuggled food into the ghetto of Przemysl and hid refugees from it; Alexander Roslan, who built a hiding cupboard in his apartment and when visited by suspicious Gestapo agents wined and dined them until they were too drunk to remember why they had come; Louisa Steenstra, a former secretary at a Jewish-owned furniture factory in Groningen who ventured into the local concentration camp to get a suitcase of clothes to a Jewish friend. Perhaps one of the strangest stories is that of the Japanese consul in Kovno, Lithuania, Sempo Sugihara, who ignored his diplomatic instructions and issued illegal transit visas to Jews via Japan—visas that his own government kept refusing to validate. At the end of each day, his hands would be so numb from writing these fake visas that his wife would have to massage them back to life. It is estimated that he saved between 4,500 and 10,000 Jews. Perhaps inexplicable but uplifting stories of humanity. Read full book review >