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Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust [Paperback]

Gay Block , Malka Drucker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1992
A welcome addition to Holocaust literature, this work presents a series of 49 personal reminiscences of non-Jewish citizens in various European nations who risked their lives to hide resident Jews from the Nazi horror. Most of those interviewed felt their actions were done out of friendship and for people caught in a web of hatred and anti-Semitism. They did not feel that they were acting heroically but that they were doing what was right. Portraits by Block of each of the rescuers accompany the text. These 49 are representative of the 9,295 rescuers honoured at the Yad Vashem in Israel. This is recommended reading for general readers as well as for college and university libraries.

Product details

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Holmes & Meier Publishers Inc (1 Jan 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0841913234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0841913233
  • Product Dimensions: 27.7 x 21.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,284,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSPIRATIONAL!! 16 Mar 2011
By Mags
I bought this book after seeing two short stories on TV which were based on two of the rescuers in the book. It is a truly amazing and thought provoking book. It is hard to comprehend the courage and heroism of people who seemed, on face value, to be so ordinary and unassuming. Their stories are at times shocking and appalling but the fact that there were people like them, willing to put their lives at risk to help total strangers in need, is ultimately heartwarming. It is also very interesting to find out what happened to all these people after the war was over, to see where they ended up and how they have been treated since.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful photo-interview essay on altruism... 18 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book is wonderfully formatted, arranged by geographic area of Europe. Each interview starts with black and white photos a person who helped Jews and other persecuted people during WWII. A personal narrative of that time in their lives follows, and each interview closes with a color photo of that person as they were in 1992 when the interviews were done. A complicated and moving picture of altruism emerges, and one gets a glimpse of how individuals chose to protect others at the risk of threat to themselves and their families.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True stories of moral courage and goodness 6 April 2000
By Robert Oliver - Published on Amazon.com
On the front cover of "Rescuers" are 12 photographs of some very nice looking people. They are pictures of people that you might meet every day; of friends and family, or someone that you might pass by on the street. They are the faces of very ordinary people, but they are also much more than that. They are the faces of people that risked their lives to save the lives of others during the Holocaust. They are the faces of the rescuers. There are many more photographs inside the book, of rescuers from countries all over Europe. Author Malka Drucker and photographer Gay Block interviewed and photographed the rescuers, seeking the heart of compassion and moral courage. They found that heart in men and women; the young and the old; and in people from all walks of life. Every story told by the rescuers is very moving. Some rescuers saved one person from death; some saved many thousands. All of the rescuers are worthy of the greatest respect and honor. The rescuers were sometimes asked the question of why they helped others to live, when so many other people stood by and did nothing. The rescuers would answer that question by saying that they were only doing what they knew was right. By caring for other people, they were acting the way that everyone should have been acting. One of the most inspiring truths found in the book, is the thought that we all have that same spark of goodness within our hearts, that was shown so nobly by the rescuers. We all have the capacity for doing what is right, even in times of the greatest fear and terror. This is a book that will warm your heart, and it is well worth reading.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust 13 Mar 2009
By C. Feinkind - Published on Amazon.com
The thing I LOVE about this book (since it was first issued I have given at least 50 copies to young people as a gift) are the pictures of the rescuers then and now. The point of each true story is that ordinary people were suddenly thrust into extraordinary and fearsome times and they went out of their way to do the moral and very courageous thing to help rescue Jews. Sometimes the people were friends before hand and sometimes they were not. At least one time, the "saved" people were seemingly ungrateful out of their own fear and frustration. This act was personally dangerous and also dangerous for the families of the rescuers. Each rescuer made it clear that they had not thought twice about it at the time and that they had never expected to play such a role before it happened. These people were HEROES. Every story is deeply affecting. Sometimes there was reward at the end and sometimes not. Sometimes years of struggle followed.
3.0 out of 5 stars Slanted intro 26 April 2014
By Yogurt - Published on Amazon.com
There's a lot of good information here, but I felt that the introduction to the Polish section was very slanted. Deborah Lipstadt, the Holocaust scholar, has a blog entitled "The Myth that won't die: the Poles were worse than the Nazis," and this intro perpetuates that myth. Most scholars agree that the Poles collaborated less with the Nazis and resisted them more than just about any other occupied country (Yugoslavia had a huge resistance too). Pre-war anti-Semitism and post-war anti-Semitism are irrelevant to this fact, and are complex issues (certainly anti-Semitism was encouraged by a Soviet government hated by most Poles).

Bottom line: the Poles hated the Germans. So in Poland there was no central government collaborating with them. This makes a difference. The Hungarian collaborating govt turned over 600,000 Jews for extermination, with all of 13 SS men to oversee. The Vichy govt rounded up 14,000 Jews in one day, throwing in 2,500 children whom the Nazis didn't ask for, without a German uniform in sight. No Polish SS battalions: there were volunteer SS battalions from all over Europe. No Polish concentration camp guards; no Hiwis (helpers of the mobile killing troops). Picture a collaborator with a uniform and a gun killing a Jew. That could've been one of many nationality, but almost certainly not Polish. (Some Blue Police and local police collaboration excepted, but minimal in the scope of the Holocaust.) Why did the Germans bring in tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Balts to run the machinery of the Holocaust if the Poles were so bad?

Did Poles collaborate? Yes. There were plenty of scumbags who helped Nazis find the Jews hiding out, after the ghettoes had already been emptied. There are scumbags in every society. This caused genuine damage, but really, in the scope of the continent-wide betrayal of the Jews and collaboration with the Nazis, it's certainly doesn't give a reason to single out the Poles. The intro seems to rationalize Jewish "rage" against the Poles. Personally, I don't believe different ethnicities have specific moral qualities. I think it's an individual thing.
5.0 out of 5 stars Rescuers 23 Aug 2013
By Anthony Kalbac - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is exactly what I was looking for to round out my knowledge of WWII Europe. I have told everyone about it.
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