Conscience and Courage: The Rescuers of the Jews During the Holocaust

Overview

In all of the abundant literature on the Holocaust, little attention has been paid to those people who, at great risk to themselves and their families, helped Jews escape the Nazis. Conscience & Courage is about these people. Here are the stories of such little-known individuals as Stefania Podgorska Burzminska, a Polish teenager who hid thirteen Jews in her home; Alexander Roslan, a dealer in the black market who kept uprooting his family to shelter three Jewish children in his care; as well as more heralded...
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Overview

In all of the abundant literature on the Holocaust, little attention has been paid to those people who, at great risk to themselves and their families, helped Jews escape the Nazis. Conscience & Courage is about these people. Here are the stories of such little-known individuals as Stefania Podgorska Burzminska, a Polish teenager who hid thirteen Jews in her home; Alexander Roslan, a dealer in the black market who kept uprooting his family to shelter three Jewish children in his care; as well as more heralded individuals such as Oskar Schindler, Raoul Wallenberg, and Miep Gies. But Conscience & Courage is not a retelling of the stories of these brave people, it is an examination of why they did what they did. Using her knowledge of psychology, particularly the various studies of altruism, Eva Fogelman shows how external conditions and internal motivations led them to rescue people, as well as how rescuing affected them psychologically, both during and after the war. Many people chose to rescue for moral reasons; others were concerned professionals who because of their work had the skills or tools to help; and yet others were children who from an early age were involved in the rescuing activities of their parents. All of these people put concerns for their own survival in the background and took responsibility for the well-being of others. In doing so they were forced to create a "rescuer self" that could do whatever was necessary in order to survive. Conscience & Courage analyzes the lives of these courageous people in an effort to determine why these particular individuals chose - and were able - to act.

A fascinating, groundbreaking study--both historical and psychological--of those individuals who helped and sheltered Jews during the Holocaust reveals a unique personality type: the "rescuer self" that can do whatever necessary in order to survive.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Some sheltered one Jew for a night; others hid several Jews for years. Some performed a single spontaneous act of heroism, like the baker who saved the author's father in Poland in 1942; others were part of an anonymous network. These brave people, along with the well-known rescuers Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg, had this in common: they were gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazi regime. In her deeply affecting book, Fogelman recounts the stories of these Europeans --housewives, businessmen, telephone operators, farmers, diplomats, nurses--and tells how the state of Israel has honored them with the title ``Righteous Among the Nations.'' The author, a New York City social psychologist who directs the Jewish Foundation for Christian Rescuers, ponders deep questions: Why did these particular individuals become rescuers? Can moral integrity be taught and then applied? Is there such a thing as altruism? She explains that one of her reasons for writing the book was ``to give altruism back its good name.'' Her study of extraordinary instances of moral courage will appeal to a broad audience. Fogelman wrote and co-produced the PBS series Breaking the Silence: The Generations After the Holocaust. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Fogelman, a social psychologist and Holocaust film producer, attempts to explain why the rescuers of Holocaust victims acted as they did. Rescuers generally fall into five categories: those driven by moral and ethical reasons; those who had a special relationship to the Jewish people; those who opposed Third Reich policies and joined rescuer networks; those who were in professions such as medicine and social work who naturally provided assistance to people in need; and children who became involved through their families. Many individuals acted alone, while others were part of rescuer networks. Fogelman emphasizes the ordinary rescuer but also discusses better-known people like Oskar Schindler, Raoul Wallenberg, and Miep Gies. Besides offering a psychological reason for the rescuers' sacrifices, Fogelman tells the fascinating stories of people who risked their lives to help individuals in trouble. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/93.-- Mary Salony, West Virginia Northern Community Coll. Lib., Wheeling
School Library Journal
YA-This is not just another Holocaust book. Instead of presenting a detailed factual account of what happened during the war, Fogelman explores the altruistic personalities of individuals who risked their lives and those of their families to help people considered to be enemies of the State. The stories of Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg are told along with those of lesser-known individuals such as Alexander Roslan and Louisa Steenstra, who went to extraordinary means to help Jews. The book is divided into three parts-``The Rescuers,'' ``The Motivation,'' and ``Postwar.'' Each section, complete with personal accounts, forms a mosaic of courage and conviction on the part of both the rescuers and the rescued.-Roberta Lisker, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385420273
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Pt. I The Rescuers
1 A Still Small Voice 3
2 The War Against the Jews 21
3 Awareness 39
4 Action 57
5 The Rescuer Self 67
6 Fear and Rescuing 85
7 Relationships 135
Pt. II Motivation
8 Morality as Motivation 161
9 Judeophiles 181
10 Concerned Professionals 193
11 Network Rescuers 203
12 Child Rescuers 221
13 Men and Women Rescuers 237
14 Early Childhood 253
Pt. III Postwar
15 Postwar 273
16 Myth? Reality, and Memory 299
Epilogue 313
Notes 323
Bibliography 355
Acknowledgments 377
Index 383
About the Author 395
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