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The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust Hardcover – 1 Jan 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company; 1st Edition edition (1 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805062602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805062601
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.4 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,922,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A timely book for a new century... The questions raised in this book lie at the heart of our humanity.', Guardian .'Martin Gilbert brings together some remarkable stories of courage and ingenuity.', Matthew J. Reisz, Independent .'The paperback of the year was Martin Gilbert's THE RIGHTEOUS. It is heartbreaking yet inspiring, an account of people who risked their lives, and worse, to shelter Jews during the Second World War. I beg everyone to read it.', Independent on Sunday .'Retold here by Martin Gilbert with his customary quiet authority ... the stories of the many "righteous" remembered by Gilbert in his account of human goodness, are the true seeds of hope that survived the Holocaust.', A. C. Grayling, Financial Times .'Two implicit demands are made of us by Gilbert's powerful book. They are, most obviously: where would you and I have stood? And the question which also provides the probable answer: what if the 19,000 [Righteous] had been 19 million?', The Scotsman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Story of the unsung heroes and heroines of the Holocaust, the 'Righteous Gentiles', brave individuals all over occupied Europe who hid, protected and helped Jews. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on 2 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Martin Gilbert is the greatest historian on the subject of the holocaust out there, and is one of the most prolific historians of today.

In The Righteous, Gilbert describes the many cases of righteous gentiles, throughout Nazi-occupied Europe, who risked their lives and all they had to save Jews, many of them children, from certain death at hte hands of the Nazi killing-machine.
Gilbert describes the heroic actions of those brave and righteous gentiles, by region describing the action of the unsung heroes in Eastern Galicia, Vilna, Lithuania, Poland, Warsaw, Western Galicia, Germany and Austria, Central Europe and the Balkans, Norway, Finland and Denmark, France, Belgium and Luxembourg, Holland, Italy and the Vatican and Hungary as well as in the Camps and on the death marches.
In some cases, entire nations came together to say no to Nazi evil, and to save the Jews of their country.
Denmark, Bulgaria and Albania stand out in this regard.
Irene Grunbaum wrote in her memoirs that one day she would tell the world how the Albanians 'protected a refugee and wouldn't allow her to be harmed even if it meant losing their lives. The gates of your small country remained open, Albania. your authorities closed both eyes, when neccesary, to give poor persecuted people another chance to survive the most horrible of all wars. We thank you'.
Morechaie Paldiel writes that 'An overwhelming majority of the Albanian population, Muslim and Christian, gave refuge to two thousand Jews in their midst, resulting in the almost total rescue of the Jewish community'.
While Gilbers describes the hroism of the Danish and Bulgarian people, he does not write enough on the very special and noble roles, to save Jews, taken by King Christian X of Denmark and King Boris III of Bulgaria.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book that makes known the relatively few wonderful people who were willing to risk their lives to save others innocent of any crime other than their jewishness.

The heroic deeds of the few thousand gentile rescuers were all the more praiseworthy because they did it despite their societies, despite the anti-semitism that was often part of their own cultural background.

Most people were with few exceptions such as in Denmark willing to sacrifice their jewish communities without protest or worse. The nazis in many places could only carry out the Holocaust so efficiently because of the collaboration of the local populace such as in Ukraine and the Baltic countries. In the Ukraine the locals were known to be worse than the Germans, in that they were happy to be able to torture the jews before killing them.

But there were many wonderful people in all the occupied countries prepared to risk not only discovery by the germans but also being informed on by their neighbours. Being betrayed by locals was a very real risk and led to many deaths.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Bevan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 April 2010
Format: Paperback
This is one of those deeply uncomfortable books everyone should read. Filled with brief (sometimes tantalisingly brief) accounts of how non-Jews across Europe (the `Righteous among the nations') rescued and sheltered Jews at risk of persecution, deportation and murder at the hands of the Nazi regime during World War II, it has, to be sure, its Wallenberg and its Schindler, its Miep Gies and its André Trocmé. But mostly it's full of the quiet courage and decency of ordinary (and sometimes nameless) people in extraordinary times. Pessimists might be shocked by the endurance of such qualities when the surrounding circumstances (including execution for entire families found harbouring Jews) made doing nothing, or active collaboration with the perpetrators of the Holocaust, the default position. (As Mordecai Paldiel observes towards the end of the book, it is goodness `that leaves us gasping'). Optimists, equally, will be chastened by the way neighbours, friends and family were willing to betray the rescuers for no reason other than naked anti-semitism. A riveting book, then, and one that leaves the reader with the question: could I act like this, if it came to it ?

So why not five stars ? Gilbert, a historian most at home among archival material like that available to him at Yad Vashem for this project, piles up anecdote on anecdote, almost as though he couldn't bear to leave anything out, no matter how sketchy: a stronger editorial hand was needed. And it's only in the afterword that he draws together observations on the rescuers' varying motives into some sort of evaluated and contextualised analysis: I could have done with more of this as the book went along. But don't let these reasonably minor criticisms put you off reading what is an unforgettable and necessary book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SRH on 2 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
Read all the other books about the Holocaust, watch the documentaries (especially Shoah), shed your tears and then read this book. It will restore your faith in human nature.

The Holocaust happened because it was allowed to happen. Most people know about Denmark saving all but 50 or so of their Jewish citizens, but how many know about Bulgaria (of all places) who said 'No' after the first transportation '-we're not allowing deportation of any more Jewish Bulgarians'. If only other countries had been so brave.

The Righteous is very well written and set out in such a way that its possible to dip in and out without becoming confused. The maps are helpful and Martin Gilbeert demonstrates yet again why he is one of our foremost Holocaust historians. An absolute must for anyone interested in this terrible time.
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