THE BOOK OF THE JUST: The Silent Heroes Who Saved Jews from Hitler by Eric Silver

THE BOOK OF THE JUST: The Silent Heroes Who Saved Jews from Hitler

Email this review


Forty-two stirring portraits of common people who hacked into heroism when confronted with the Third Reich's genocide machine. The strength of this remarkable collection lies in its lack of central thesis, geographical consistency, or intrusive editorializing. Silver (Begin, 1984) often lets the rescuers and the rescued tell their own unembellished stories, with direct quotes taking the dramatic weight of each vignette: ""I helped human beings at a time when they were not treated like human beings."" There are no generalizations to be made about the vastly different men and women who risked their lives to save Jews, and so the book is organized by diplomatic, military and religious settings. The ""conspirators of goodness"" among diplomats include one Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian who was inspired to break rules by Raoul Wallenberg but who remained a Fascist. Another was Sempo Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania. His associate, a Japanese professor who converted to Judaism, got his desired burial in Jerusalem despite the Yom Kippur War only because one of the rescued Jews turned out to be Israel's Minister of Religion. Perhaps the most memorable of the saviors is the ""drunkard"" and ""womanizer"" Oskar Schindler, who saved 1,200 Jews in his German factories. Saving lives, therefore, was not just the display of Christian love by a brave minister or two; it was also a rebellious act by kindhearted rogues. Quietly eloquent, and a valuable glimpse of light in our era's longest night.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1992
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Grove Weidenfeld