Book of the Just

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Israel has honored more than 10,000 men and women who risked their lives, freedom, and careers to save Jews in a Nazi Europe where it was open season for their systematic and random slaughter. The Book of the Just tells the stories of forty of these "righteous among the nations," unsung heroes of the Holocaust, ordinary people who showed extraordinary courage, daring, and simple human decency in the face of almost unspeakable horror - at a time when most people looked the other way. They came from many countries,...
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Overview

Israel has honored more than 10,000 men and women who risked their lives, freedom, and careers to save Jews in a Nazi Europe where it was open season for their systematic and random slaughter. The Book of the Just tells the stories of forty of these "righteous among the nations," unsung heroes of the Holocaust, ordinary people who showed extraordinary courage, daring, and simple human decency in the face of almost unspeakable horror - at a time when most people looked the other way. They came from many countries, religions, and walks of life, but they all shared a burning faith in individual responsibility and a passionate commitment to justice. These are dramatic and inspiring accounts, usually in the words of the rescuers and those they rescued, ranging from a German factory manager who saved 1,500 employees in Galicia; to a Portuguese consul in Bordeaux who wrote visas for 10,000 Jews in three days; to a British prisoner of war who traded dead Jews for the living; to a Swiss Red Cross worker who broke the rules of neutrality by shielding thousands of Jews in Budapest; to a Japanese consul who rescued the children of an entire yeshivah. By using personal testimonies, Eric Silver vividly conveys the anguish of the hunted, the bravery of their liberators, and the constant fear of betrayal, discovery, persecution, and execution that haunted them both. The Book of the Just is riveting oral history, a powerful contribution to Holocaust literature, an act of remembrance and commemoration, and a salute to all those who helped to save a whole world by saving even just one life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tribute is paid to the silent heroes who resisted the Holocaust in dramatic, moving stories recounted by survivors and rescuers in Israel-based freelance reporter Silver's book. Testimonials reveal how non-Jews from every part of Nazi-occupied Europe, including Germany, risked their own liberty and lives to save Jews--as in the case of the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux who paid with his career and fortune for enabling the flight of 10,000 Jews to neutral Spain. Rescues often involved underground networks, bribery, lying, forged papers and even the obscuring of Jewish escapees by the substitution of bodies purchased from corrupt camp guards. Regardless of backgrounds, faiths or political views, and whether they acted as individuals or in groups--or as a whole people, like the Danes, who in 1983 united to spirit away 6000 Jews from the Nazis--all felt the need to assert a common humanity and resist barbarism. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Given the existence of revisionists who deny that the Holocaust happened and the current ``ethnic cleansing'' in Bosnia, books on the Holocaust are timely. We need to be reminded that the Holocaust, in all its horror, did indeed take place. This slim volume contains short accounts of gentiles--Christians, Muslims, and a Japanese diplomat--who risked their careers and their lives to save Jews from Hitler's death factories. A Reader's Digest type of approach can work with profoundly significant topics, but not in this instance. The book's format cannot always conceal the nobility of the people it profiles, but its abbreviated, journalistic vignettes fail to satisfy the reader, especially when only part of the pertinent facts of a case can be reconstructed.-- Robert W. Frizzell, Hendrix Coll. Lib., Conway, Ark.
George Cohen
Silver relates the stories of 40 people who saved Jews from the Nazis during World War II--people as diverse as a devout Catholic Portuguese consul-general in Bordeaux who wrote 10,000 visas in three days, and a British prisoner of war who traded dead Jews for the living in Auschwitz. The aim of the book, Silver writes, is to show that there were people who cared, who were neither indifferent nor intimidated, who risked their own lives, liberty, or careers to save Jews--and sometimes paid a heavy price. The Yad Vasham Holocaust Memorial Center was Silver's prime source of information, but when possible he interviewed rescuers and survivors. He set out to write a book about heroes, but found himself retracing the story of the Holocaust. "Not the politics, not the mathematics of genocide, but the daily degradation it imposed on its victims."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802113474
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/15/1992
  • Pages: 175

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Prologue: To Fight the Evil 1
1 Conspirators of Goodness 5
2 The Honourable Consuls 32
3 Prisoners' Prisoners 62
4 The Church Defiant 77
5 The Benevolent Crescent 103
6 An Act of Resistance 113
7 The Few Who Disobeyed 137
Epilogue: Whys and Wherefores 160
Sources 165
Select Bibliography 169
Index 171
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