Since Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the German laws concerning the Jewish population had been made stricter. First in Germany, and then throughout the ever-growing territory of the Third Reich, Jews were stripped of their civil rights and property, excluded from the economic life of the country and banned from practicing numerous professions. Soon they were put in concentration camps and ghettoes or openly executed.
Not only Jews lived in a constant threat, war and treason, but also those who would and could help them.
Stories of rescues are stories of diplomats violating direct orders of their chiefs and producing false documents that saved lives; these are stories of poor peasants sheltering their Jewish neighbours in hideouts and wells, of clerics helping Jews to escape the perpetrators, of lonely women taking in Jewish children left alone after their parents’ death.
Finding food or shelter against war was no easy feat then, and yet sometimes these people assumed responsibility over complete strangers. Often enough the price to pay was their life.
The exhibition an the Jewish Museum will not only present the most famous stories of rescue, but will also uncover the identitites of the less known Righteous. Archival materials related to this part of the Holocaust history will be studied. Among documents, photos and videomaterials on display visitors will see items provided by the courtesy of the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum of Jerusalem and the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum of Washington.
Those who perished considerably outnumber the very few survivors, that is why, to honour the value of each and every saved life, the Righteous receive the medallion with their name and the following inscription: "A token of gratitude from the Jewish people. He who saves a single life, saves an entire universe".