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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Righteous Gentile’

Relatives of Egyptian Righteous Gentile Refusing Yad Vashem Award

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

The relative of the first Arab to have been recognized as a Righteous Gentile says that his family is not interested in receiving the award in his name posthumously, blaming the murky relationship between Egypt and Israel.

The Egyptian doctor Mohamed Helmy was honored posthumously last month by Israel’s Holocaust Memorial for hiding Jews in Berlin during the Nazis’ genocide. In cases like these, when the recipient is already departed, the museum attempts to locate their living relatives, so they can be honored in a special ceremony. But a family member tracked down by The Associated Press last week in Cairo said her relatives wouldn’t accept the award, one of Israel’s most prestigious.

“If any other country offered to honor Helmy, we would have been happy with it,” Mervat Hassan, the wife of Helmy’s great-nephew, 66, dressed in a veil, told The Associated.

Or, in other words, why didn’t uncle know better than to go crazy and save those Jews?

I know it must be very scary for the poor woman to realize that she and her family could be penalized by their neighbors, if not by someone in authority, for the bravery of their uncle. So I don’t blame her, but, still, this looks and sounds so pathetic. One wonders what would be the chances of a Jew in today’s Cairo to find shelter with the local gentiles.

A German historian has assisted the Associated Press in obtaining Helmy’s wife’s death certificate—she passed away in Cairo, in 1998. The documentation has revealed that three of the Helmys’ relatives are living in Cairo.

Mervat Hassan said the family didn’t want an award from Israel, but she quickly added: “I respect Judaism as a religion and I respect Jews. Islam recognizes Judaism as a heavenly religion.”

It’s down here, on the planet, that they seem to have most of the trouble with us, most notably our embarrassing tendency not to agree to get killed by the trainloads, a fine Jewish tradition that we no longer practice.

“Helmy was not picking a certain nationality, race or religion to help,” Hassan insisted. “He treated patients regardless of who they were.”

Possibly, except for the facts as they were recorded by those pesky, grateful Jews at Yad Vashem:

When the Nazis began deporting Jews, Dr. Helmy hid 21-year-old Anna Boros, a family friend, at a cabin on the outskirts of the city, and provided her relatives with medical care. After Boros’ relatives admitted to Nazi interrogators that he was hiding her, he arranged for her to hide at an acquaintance’s house before authorities could inspect the cabin. The four family members survived the war and immigrated to the U.S.

He not only saved four Jewish lives, but very much risked his own.

Yad Vashem has the names of other relatives of Helmy that appeared in his will as his heirs, and forwarded this information to the Egyptian ambassador in Israel. Hopefully, when the authorities in Egypt will find them they won’t punish them for the “sins” of their brave uncle.

Polish Righteous Gentile Donates Memorabilia to Jewish Museum

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

A Polish historian and statesman who was imprisoned at Auschwitz and recognized as a Righteous Gentile for saving Jews in World War II has donated a collection of his memorabilia to a museum in Poland.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 91 and a  former member  of the underground “Żegota” Polish Council to Aid Jews during the Holocaust, presented his donations to the new Museum of the History of Polish Jewish in Warsaw at a ceremony on Wednesday.

He also has twice served as Poland’s foreign minister and has held other senior positions and received many international honors.

The museum said the memorabilia include his Righteous among Nations medal, which he received in 1966; a certificate of his planting of a tree in honor of “Żegota” at Yad Vashem; his honorary citizenship of the State of Israel; the Elie Wiesel Award, which he received this year from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington; an original ring made in the Litzmannstadt (Lodz) Ghetto; as well as various books and historical documents from the period of World War II.

“One never knows what will and what will not pay off in life, but one always knows what is worth doing,” he said during the ceremony, recalling his experience in “Żegota.”

Yad Vashem Cites Egyptian Doctor as Righteous Among the Nations

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Yad Vashem recently recognized Dr. Mohamed Helmy and Frieda Szturmann as Righteous Among the Nations, an honorary title bestowed by Yad Vashem on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Dr. Helmy, an Egyptian physician living in Berlin and Szturmann, a local German woman, worked together in the heart of Nazi Germany to help save a Jewish family during the height of the Holocaust.

Dr. Helmy is the first Egyptian to be recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem is currently searching for the rescuers’ next of kin to posthumously honor their relatives in a ceremony and present them with the certificate and medal of the Righteous.

Dr. Mohamed Helmy was born in Khartoum in 1901 to Egyptian parents. In 1922, Helmy went to Germany to study medicine and settled in Berlin., where, he went to work at the Robert Koch Institute.

According to Nazi racial theory, Dr. Helmy was not being of the Aryan race and was discriminated against.

Despite being targeted by the regime, Helmy spoke out against Nazi policies, and notwithstanding the great danger, risked his life by helping his Jewish friends.

American Mennonite Lois Gunden Named Righteous Gentile

Monday, July 8th, 2013
Lois Gunden, an American Mennonite who helped save Jewish children in France during the Holocaust, was recognized by Yad Vashem Monday as the fourth American to be named a Righteous Among the Nations.

Gunden will be honored posthumously at a ceremony to take place in the United States, where her niece Mary Jean Gunden will accept the medal and certificate of honor on her behalf.

Gunden, a French teacher from Goshen, Ind., went to southern France in 1941 to serve with the Mennonite Central Committee. She joined the Secours Mennonite aux Enfants in Lyon and was sent to establish a children’s home in Canet Plage, located on the Mediterranean Sea. The children’s center became a safe haven for the children of Spanish refugees as well as for Jewish children, many of whom were smuggled out of the nearby internment camp of Rivesaltes.

Gunden personally interceded to save Jewish children, including reassuring parents that she would take care of them and shield them from the Nazis.

In November 1942, the Germans occupied southern France. Although Gunden was considered an enemy alien after the United States entered the war, she continued to run the children’s center.

Two months later, Gunden was detained by the Germans until she was released in 1944 in a prisoner exchange, later returning to her home in Indiana.

Gunden joins Varian Fry and Waitstill and Martha Sharp as Americans to be named Righteous Gentiles.

Honored ‘Italian Schindler’ Exposed as Nazi Collaborator

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

One of the grossest frauds imaginable has exposed the “Italian Schindler,” Giovanni Palatucci, as a Nazi collaborator who sent Jews to death and did not save them. The Giovanni Palatucci Association defends his glory against “revisionist historians.”

Palatucci was an Italian police official was arrested by the Nazis in 1944 and sentenced to death. Why he was arrested, and what happened before his arrest now is questioned.

After a review of hundreds of documents, the  Centro Primo Levi Italian research center wrote the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington that not only is there no evidence that he helped save Jews from the Holocaust, he also helped the Hitler regime identify Jews and sent them to death camps.

Until now, Palatucci’s image has been built him into a hero who falsified documents and visas of Jews, ostensibly deporting them to death camps but actually sending them to a Catholic bishop, who was his uncle.

After the Nazis occupied Italy in 1943, he supposedly helped Jews avoid the clutches of the Nazis until he was exposed. Supporters of Palatucci as a Righteous Gentile have written that he was sent to the Dachau concentration camp, where he died before the end of World War II in 1945.

The whole story seems to be a myth that was bought by Holocaust Museum in Washington and the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Center in Jerusalem, which honored him posthumously on 1990 as a Righteous Gentile among the Nations.

The Vatican is considering beautifying him.

The research exposing the fraud leaves open the probability that Palatucci’s family, the Vatican and Italian officials tried to hide his collaboration with the Nazis as part of a guilt complex that required them to cover up complicity with crimes against humanity with an equally gross fiction that Palatucci was a hero.

He supposed saved 5,000 Italian Jews from death in a region where the entire Jewish population was less than 2,500. Pasticcio was supposedly a police chief in the city of Fiume and was said to have saved thousands of the city’s Jews from death by sending them to an internment camp in southern Italy where his uncle was to protect them.

However, Anna Pizzuti, editor of the database of foreign Jewish internees in Italy, told the Corrier Della Sera newspaper, “No more than 40 Fiume residents were interned in Campagna. And a third of these ended up in Auschwitz.”

Another claim of Palatucci’s heroism is that he helped 800 Jewish refugees escape via a Greek ship  to the British Mandate of Palestine.

According to port authority documents, it was the Jewish Agency of Zurich that tried to send the Jews, but Palatucci’s superiors refused the request.

It is not even certain he was a  police chief. Author Marco Coslovich wrote in his book “Giovanni Palatucci: A True Recollection,” that “Palatucci never served as chief of police in Fiume” but was an underling who obeyed commands of his anti-Semitic superiors.

The Italian historian Simon Levis Sullam told the London Independent, “I think Italians have in recent years been overwhelmingly preoccupied with finding and worshipping cases of ‘good’ Italians, instead of dealing with Italian responsibilities during fascism and especially during the Holocaust.”

The Giovanni Palatucci Association claims that  the numerous Jews he saved in Italy were not  natives of the country but were Jewish migrants from Europe.

As for his death in Dachau, Italian documents reveal that the Germans arrested him for treason and embezzlement for helping the British but not with saving Jews.

Polish Jews against Righteous Gentiles Monument at Ghetto Site

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Poland’s Jewish community does not want a planned monument to righteous gentiles to be erected near the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which is due to open this month on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto.

“The community of Polish Jews will never forget the heroism of people who, despite the threat of denunciation and death, were ready to bring aid to victims of the Holocaust,” wrote representatives of the Jewish community in a statement released Thursday. “[But] we believe that this monument should not stand on the remains of those who were not rescued.”

Placing the monument to the Righteous Among the Nations on the site of the former ghetto near the museum would narrow Polish-Jewish history to the Holocaust, the Jewish leaders believe.

The decision to build the monument is set to be announced on April 19, on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The decision on where to build the monument resides with the Warsaw City Council.

Polish Diplomats Won’t Promote Book on Poles’ Conduct During WW2

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Several Polish diplomatic missions have yet to fulfill a request by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote a book on their websites about Poles and their relationships with Jews during the Holocaust.

The ministry in July asked the missions to put a link to “Inferno of Choices: Poles and the Holocaust” (Rytm) on their websites, but several of the missions have not complied, the Rzeczpospolita newspaper reported Tuesday. Some Polish historians have criticized the book, accusing the authors of drawing false conclusions.

The book includes historical documents, letters and testimony that show real living conditions in Nazi-occupied Poland. The book explores Polish anti-Semitism and Poles who stole Jewish property during and after World War II.

“There are articles by outstanding Polish historians, as well as records and documents of the Polish Underground State showing historical context of extermination of Jews in Polish areas occupied by Germany,” said Marcin Bosacki, a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

The ministry says the book has a positive opinion of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum, which has awarded the Righteous Gentile designation to more Poles than any other foreign nationals.

The book, in English, was edited by Sebastian Rejak and Elzbieta Frister.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/polish-diplomats-wont-promote-book-on-poles-conduct-during-ww2/2012/08/09/

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