The level; to explore the depths of the human

The role of the Righteous Among the Nation of Gentile rescuers in the saving of Jewish lives necessitates the drawing of some conclusions on the significance of their deeds. Any attempt to provide convincing explanations of this particular phenomenon, however, forces us to explore human nature at a deep level; to explore the depths of the human mind is fraught with pitfalls and misinterpretations. As time passes, we come to see the Holocaust as what it truly is; a crime on humanity. One of the most terrifying moment of history, and one of the darkest time. However, we ignore the few good heroes that contrast with the rest of the population, and we forget how strong the light shines on those who refused to obey the horrifying actions taken upon the Jewish population. These heros, whom many have been recognized by the State of Israelis and thanked for their sacrifice for the people of Israel, have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nation, or Righteous Gentiles. The wonderful men and women who have carried the weight of mankind on their shoulders should serve as an example to all to do what is right, to obey to a higher law that is to love and respect every being regardless of the popular label forced on them. The rescuers of Jews decided to set themselves apart from the norms of their society with regard to helping Jews. If the Holocaust shows that violence is a latent predisposition in human beings, which can be triggered into action and turn into a slaughter, it also demonstrates that there is a humanitarian “sleeper” instinct that may spark the individual to altruistic deeds under inordinately difficult condition. During the eclipse of humanity represented by the Holocaust, humanity came into its own in a few individuals, personified by the Righteous Among the Nation— heroes of a special kind, responsible human beings when all others had abdicated their moral responsibility. Such person were few and represented an exception to the rule. It is easier to destroy than to build, death comes suddenly while life is brought about slowly. The Holocaust is a terrible legacy to pass on to future generations. The unspeakable and monstrous crime, this mechanisation of murdering a whole people, taking away their humanity, this indelible stain in the human record and a stumbling block to our self-confidence and self-perception as sensible human beings. The Nazi phenomenon gives credence, not only merely to the pseudo teaching of superior and inferior races, but also to Social Darwinist theories that preceded the Nazis and keep on existing in today’s world. It gives little hope for mankind. But it is only part of the larger picture. It portrays human human behavior  in its worst aspects, without consideration of the other more salutary manifestations of behavior. The example of the Righteous Among the Nations shows us that this somber outlook does not encompass the globality of human behavior; that people can and indeed often do act in the worse ways imaginable, but tha three is also another dimension to human behavior, as human as the aggressive side. This other side is altruism and love of fellow human beings, concretized in edifying deeds, even at great discomfort and risk to oneself. So far, over 25,000 persons have been awarded the Righteous title by Yad Vashem, and this constitute only a fraction of a larger population of rescuers of whom we may never know for lack of sufficient documentation. These men and women risked their lives, day in and day out, to save Jews from death, not only from any expectation of future reward but simply because it had to be done. Goodness, kindness, and charitableness. This is the legacy we need to pass on to future generations. We hear so much of the villains of the Nazi legacy, that we ignore the true heroes. That is why Yad Vashem honors these people. Not for them, but for the children growing in a world of anger and violence, so that they too know, that anyone can do the right thing. The wall of the Righteous, with the names of the men and women who helped the people of Israel during the war, will never end. It has infinite space for the names of all heroes of our nations. This paper is dedicated to the memory of the men and women who risked their lives to save others at the time when Adolf Hitler dominated most of Europe, may their names never be forgotten.