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The Righteous



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About The Author

Martin GilbertMartin Gilbert

Martin Gilbert is the author of eight books on Holocaust themes, a subject on which he has been writing for forty years. In 1995 he was knighted “for services to British history and international relations.”

photo: ©Sigrid Estrada

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EXCERPT

From The Righteous:

"What were the motives of those who tried to save Jews from deportation and death?" This question is raised with every account of rescue, as the reader, like the historian, wonders whether they would have behaved in such a courageous manner. First and foremost, the Righteous of this book chose to act; theirs was a deliberate decision to behave in a civilized, humane manner, rather than to do nothing, or to refuse to be involved, or to take the route of barbarism.

In the circumstances of a combination of Nazi rule, SS power and Gestapo terror, inaction motivated by fear cannot be belittled. Those who turned against the tide of terror were all the more remarkable. "We did what we had to do"; "Anyone would have done the same"-the words of many rescuers mask the courageousness of the course they chose, knowing it to be full of danger, often the danger of execution of their families as well as themselves. Yet these were not foolhardy, rash or intemperate people; most of them made their choice calmly, deliberately and with full realization of the risks, risks that they faced, and took, for months and even years.

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