«Jewish Observer»
July 2002
5762 Av

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Literature on Holocaust nowadays accounts for thousands of editions in many languages of the world. It reflects most diverse sides of life and death of the Jewish people. Books, magazine and newspaper articles also disclose a theme of Jews' miraculous salvation. During the war hundreds of Jews survived only because by they had been, by a lucky chance, rescued by people of other nationalities. This occurred in many towns and villages occupied by fascists during World War II. Rescuers were aware if they did not interfere Jews would die. And they followed behests of their soul. What guided them? This question is far from being simple. In many a case they dared to help remembering about their own children, brothers, sisters, probably, just because they are humans. The chief thing is they saved others from death - is there anything above this?

Undoubtedly, a rescued person will forever remember his rescuer. It is wonderful if a rescuer's name (first or last) is known. The saved will, obviously, never forget it. Besides, Yad Vashem informs about those who were hiding Jews in secure places with a risk to own lives. These people become Righteous men of peace. They are awarded Honorable diplomas and medals. Trees named after them are planted along the Alley of righteous men in Jerusalem.

But what should be done if a lucky Jew is unaware of his rescuer's name and has never seen him afterwards? If he even had no opportunity to thank for his saved life? How to do justice to unknown rescuers? How to commemorate them?

A former ghetto prisoner David Rozenfeld advanced an idea in one of his publications - to put a monument to those who have rescued Jews but whose names are unknown. This is related to the idea of creating a monument to Unknown soldier. It can, for example, be called a Monument to unknown rescuer. If it is created it will, obviously, become the first monument of the kind.

It is pity if this wonderful idea fails to be put to life. It is a pity if it is not embodied in stone or bronze. It is a pity if such monument is not established in Odessa, Kiev, Vinnitsa, Kharkov, Chernovtsy, other cities of Ukraine where there are hundreds of places of mass extermination of Jews, thousands of graves of those who died because only being Jews.

Monument to a rescuer is a symbol of feat worth to be followed irrespective of the country people who risked their lives rescuing humans from shootings, gallows and gas chambers lived in. It would be fair if monuments to an Unknown rescuer be erected not only on the territory of former USSR, but also in other countries where people did not fear to stretch a firm helping hand to those who had lost the last hope.

We ask to send information about unknown rescuers to the address: 65045, Odessa, box 110, editorial board of the newspaper "Gmilus Khesed".

All materials will be included into a future book to be named "Monument to Unknown rescuer". I think we shouldn't shelve actualization of this idea. We are eager it become widely known in different countries of the world and Jewish organizations there take it close.

Will this idea turn to reality? The time will show. Everything depends on us, on our Jewish hearts, on our elder generation who survived fascism, on understanding of the younger generations. The idea of creating a monument seems perspective to me. Good should not be forgotten! Memory should be grateful!


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© 2002 Jewish Confederation of Ukraine - www.jewukr.org