Their Brother’s Keepers: Rescuers and Righteous Gentiles (HGS 507)

During the Holocaust, assistance from gentiles often meant the difference between life and death for Jews in occupied Europe. Those who provided aid to Jews risked the possibility of imprisonment or even death. So what motivated gentiles to take such risks and rescue their Jewish neighbors and how did rescue vary across occupied Europe? Using sources from across the disciplines, as well as literature, memoirs, and other primary sources, this course explores how we understand rescue and aid provided to Jews during the Holocaust, how rescue efforts played out on the ground, and the nature of the motivations of aid providers. In addition, the class considers how rescue activities are remembered individually and organizationally as well as the institution of “Righteous Among the Nations.” The primary focus of the class will be Nazi-Occupied Poland with comparisons to rescue efforts in France, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

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