Righteous among the Nations

Righteous among the Nations

, "Chassidey Umot HaOlam"), which may at times refer to the B'nei Noah or Noahides as well, is a term used in Judaism to refer to non-Jews who abide by the Seven Laws of Noah and thus are assured of meriting paradise.

In secular usage, the term is used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during The Holocaust in order to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. The secular award (discussed below) by the same name given by the State of Israel has often been translated into English as "Righteous Gentile."


When Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by the Knesset, one of its tasks was to commemorate the "Righteous among the Nations". The Righteous were defined as non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Since 1963, a commission headed by a justice of the Supreme Court of Israel has been charged with the duty of awarding the honorary title "Righteous among the Nations." The commission is guided in its work by certain criteria and meticulously studies all documentation, including evidence by survivors and other eyewitnesses, evaluates the historical circumstances and the element of risk to the rescuer, and then decides if the case accords with the criteria.

A person who is recognized as "Righteous among the Nations" for having taken risks to help Jews during the Holocaust is awarded a medal bearing their name, a certificate of honor, and the privilege of having their name added to those on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. (The last is in lieu of a tree-planting, which was discontinued for lack of space.) The awards are distributed to the rescuers or their next-of-kin during ceremonies in Israel or in their countries of residence through the offices of Israel's diplomatic representatives. These ceremonies are attended by local government representatives and are given wide media coverage.

The Yad Vashem Law also authorizes Yad Vashem "To confer honorary citizenship upon the Righteous among the Nations, and if they have passed away, the commemorative citizenship of the State of Israel, in recognition of their actions." Anyone who has been recognized as Righteous among the Nations is entitled to apply to Yad Vashem for the certificate. If the Righteous among the Nations is no longer alive, their next of kin is entitled to request that commemorative citizenship be conferred on the Righteous among the Nations who has died. Recipients who choose to live in the state of Israel are entitled to a pension equal to the average national wage, free health care, as well as assistance with housing and nursing care.

By 1 January 2008, 22,211 men and women from 44 countries [cite news | title = First Arab Nominated for Holocaust Honor | work = | publisher = Associated Press | date = 2007-01-30 | url = http://www.beliefnet.com/story/211/story_21108_1.html | accessdate = 2007-02-01] have been recognized as Righteous among the Nations, representing over 10,000 authenticated rescue stories. Yad Vashem's policy is to pursue the program for as long as petitions for this title are received and are supported by solid evidence that meets the criteria.

By country

See List of Righteous among the Nations by country for names of individuals.The names of all the Righteous among the Nations recognized by Yad Vashem are listed on the virtual wall of honor of Yad Vashem's website. see: http://www1.yadvashem.org/righteous_new/vwall.html

ee also

* Seven Laws of Noah, a list of seven moral imperatives which, according to the Talmud, were given by God to Noah as a binding set of laws for all mankind
* Zegota Council to Aid the Jews in occupied Poland
* List of people who helped Jews during the Holocaust
* Ger tzedek
* Ger Toshav
* Noahide Laws
* Virtuous pagan
* List of Righteous among the Nations by country



*"Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: Genocide and Moral Obligation", David Gushee, ISBN 1-55778-821-9, Paragon House Publishers
*"The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage",Klempner, Mark, ISBN 0-8298-1699-2, The Pilgrim Press
*"The Lexicon of the Righteous Among the Nations", Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. (volumes: Poland, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Europe I, Europe II)
*"To Save a Life: Stories of Holocaust Rescue", Land-Weber, Ellen, ISBN 0-252-02515-6, University of Illinois Press
*"The Seven Laws of Noah", Lichtenstein, Aaron, New York: The Rabbi Jacob Joseph School Press, 1981.
*"The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism", Novak, David, ISBN 0-88946-975-X, New York and Toronto: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1983.
*"The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust", Paldiel, Mordecai, ISBN 0-88125-376-6, KTAV Publishing House, Inc.
* "Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands", Robert Satloff, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, (PublicAffairs, 2006) ISBN 1586483994
*"When Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland", Tec, Nechama, ISBN 0-19-505194-7, Oxford University Press
*"Zegota: The Council to Aid Jews in Occupied Poland 1942-1945", Tomaszewski, Irene & Werblowski, Tecia, ISBN 1-896881-15-7, Price-Patterson
*"Tolerance in Judaism: The Medieval and Modern Sources", Zuesse, Evan M., In: The Encyclopaedia of Judaism, edited by J. Neusner, A. Avery-Peck, and W.S. Green, Second Edition, ISBN 90-04-14787-X, Leiden: Brill, 2005, Vol. IV: 2688-2713
*"When Courage Was Stronger Than Fear: Remarkable Stories of Christians Who Saved Jews from the Holocaust" by Peter Hellman. 2nd edition, ISBN 1-56924-663-7, Marlowe & Companym, 1999

External links

* [http://www1.yadvashem.org/righteous_new/index.html The Righteous Among the Nations] at Yad Vashem
* [http://isurvived.org/TOC-II.html#Up Heroes and Heroines of the Holocaust] at Holocaust Survivors' Network
* [http://www.hearthasreasons.com/bibliography.php Holocaust Rescuers Bibliography]
* [http://www.savingjews.org Saving Jews: Polish Righteous]
* [http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/albums/palbum/p03/a0190p3.html Photo gallery on righteous gentiles during the Holocaust] at Simon Wiesenthal Center
* [http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/rescuetoc.html Rescuers] at Jewish Virtual Library
* [http://www.spacetime-sensor.de/wallenberg.htm Holocaust Memorial Budapest, testimony from the family Jakobovics in 1947]
* [http://www.raoul-wallenberg.asso.fr/raoul_wallenberg_arch/wallenberg_test/wallenberg_testi.html Witness: "Karoly Szabo played a determining role among Wallenberg's supporters"]
* [http://www.jfr.org/site/PageServer The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous]
* [http://www.pbs.org/auschwitz/learning/index.html Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State]
* [http://zyciezazycie.pl/index.php?lang=en Site commemorating Poles who gave their lives to save Jews]
* [http://www.gariwo.net/eng_new/ Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide Committee]

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