On Wednesday, Yad Vashem will host a ceremony posthumously honoring Arthur and Paula Schmidt from Germany as Righteous Among the Nations.
The Schmidts risked their lives to save seven Jewish children during the Holocaust. The grandson of the Righteous couple, Arthur Schmidt (named after his grandfather) from Hamburg, will attend the ceremony and accept the medal and certificate on behalf of his late grandparents.
Arthur and Paula Schmidt’s names will be added to the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem.
Also in attendance will be Holocaust survivor Ginger Lane, German Ambassador to Israel Clemens von Goetze, members of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations, and family members. Irena Steinfeldt, Director of the Department of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem, will present the medal and certificate on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
In 1925, Alexander Weber converted to Judaism. A year later, he married Lina Banda, a Jewish woman from Hungary. The couple moved to Berlin, where they raised their seven children. In their building, at 48 Dragonerstrasse Street, was a shop rented by a farmer named Arthur Schmidt. Schmidt used the shop to store the fruit and vegetables he brought from his farm in Worin, Brandenburg.
In March 1943, the Weber family was arrested. Alexander and the children were released at the beginning of the summer, and when Alexander began to look for a safe place for his children, Arthur and Paula Schmidt offered to take the children to Worin and shelter them there. For almost two years, the Schmidt couple cared for the children, sharing their food with them. Only the mayor of Worin knew the children’s true identity.
Lina Weber was deported to Auschwitz in December 1943, where she was murdered. After the war, the Weber children immigrated to the United States, where they were later joined by their father.
On May 26, 2015, Yad Vashem recognized Arthur and Paula Schmidt as Righteous Among the Nations. The Schmidt family is the 601st family to be recognized from Germany.
To date, Yad Vashem has recognized some 26,500 Righteous Among the Nations from over 50 nations worldwide.