The B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers during the Holocaust inducted seven new recipients of their joint Jewish Rescuers Citation at a meeting on Dec. 17, bringing the number of recognized rescuers to 341 since the inception of the citation in 2011. Only one of the recipients—Professor Simon Raymond Schwarzfuchs (age 93), who was active in the Jewish underground in France in rescuing Jews and fighting the Nazis—is still alive, in Jerusalem.
The other, posthumous, inductees:
Shalom (Simcha) Zorin (1902–1974) was a Jewish Soviet partisan commander in Minsk.
While hiding in the forest, he established a partisan unit that gave refuge to Jewish families fleeing the ghettos. Some 500 Jews survived the war thanks to Zorin.
Peretz (1927-2013) and Zalman (1929-1996) Hochman were bothers who were 10 and 12 when their native Warsaw was invaded by the Germans in 1939. They escaped the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 to the Aryan side where they survived the war as members of a band of Jewish children who posed as non-Jews, interacting with the Nazi occupiers and peddling cigarettes in Three Crosses Square near Gestapo headquarters. In the course of their ordeal and despite their young age, they endangered their lives to help two other Jews survive.
Dr. Alina Brewda-Bialostocka (1905-1988) served as a gynecologist and obstetrician in the Warsaw Ghetto, in the Majdanek concentration camp and in Auschwitz where she became known as the “angel of Block 10.” She took advantage of her position to save many Jewish women from death, risking her own life.
David Dadu Rosenkranz (1905-1965) was a lawyer and leader in the war-time Jewish community in Romania. Along with Fred Saraga and Itschak Artzi (who were recognized in the past with the Jewish Rescuers Citation), Rosenkranz lead three dangerous missions in 1943 and 1944 to Transnistria, an area of German-occupied Ukraine given by Hitler to his ally, Romanian General Ion Antonescu, where hundreds of thousands of local and deported Jews lived in appalling conditions. Rosenkranz brought physical aid and succeeded in repatriating some 3,000 Jews to Romania, including nearly 500 orphans.
Rachel Ida Lifchitz (1917-2003) was a social worker in Paris who worked until World War II in the Rothschild family’s philanthropic enterprises for Jewish children. During the German occupation of France, Lifchitz worked for the Nazi-appointed central Jewish organization U.G.I.F. while clandestinely rescuing Jewish children and hiding them with non-Jewish families in association with WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization.
The Jewish Rescuers Citation was established to help correct the generally held misconception that Jews failed to come to the aid of fellow Jews during the Holocaust. To date 341 heroes who risked their lives in attempts to rescue fellow Jews in Germany, Austria and across Nazi-allied or occupied Europe have been honored with the citation.
Until the Jewish Rescuer Citation, there had been virtually no attention paid to the phenomena of Jewish rescue. Even with 341 honorees, we still are working to bring more attention to these heroes.
Many who could have tried to flee preferred to stay and rescue others; some paid for it with their lives. With great heroism, Jews in every country in occupied Europe employed subterfuge, forgery, smuggling, concealment and other methods to ensure that Jews survived the Holocaust, or assisted them in escaping to a safe heaven, and in doing so foiled the Nazi goal of total genocide against the Jews.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.