The Story Of How Gentiles Saved Jews In The Holocaust
Set against the background of the Holocaust's horrors, stories about many among the thousands who risked their lives to save Jewish neighbors and strangers. Beginning in Germany itself and in Poland, where anti-Semitism ran deepest, Meltzer's story briefly describes a long series of rescues by people who risked betrayal by even their nearest family. In Denmark, the population was virtually unanimous in helping the few Jews there escape to Sweden; the Dutch, with as good a will, were less successful because of their own geography, because the German presence was greater in Holland, and because there were many more Dutch Jews. The Italians, though Hitler's allies, managed through most of the war to ignore Nazi demands for exportation of their Jews. Country by country, Meltzer relates vignettes of heroism varied by longer accounts of the most notable successes: e.g., Trocmé in France, Wallenberg in Hungary, Schindler in Germany; he concludes with some thoughts on the motives of the saviors and the effect of national background, historical tradition, and political views. Such a survey makes national comparisons inevitable; it is to Meltzer's credit that he lets the facts speak for themselves, emphasizing that individual conscience, courage, and compassion in every nation propelled these acts that shone like "tiny flickers" against "the immense darkness of the Holocaust." A valuable, compelling account.