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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Some witnesses to the plight of Jews under the swastika decided to intervene by becoming rescuers. This article shows that their actions evolved as the Nazi persecution radicalized: whereas ‘rescue’ in the prewar years meant helping ‘refugees’, it meant hiding Jews and assisting their flight once Nazism expanded. Common to both periods, however, was the fact that rescuers — male and female, urban and rural, gentile and Jewish, of all ages, social classes, and degrees of religious observance — stepped forward individually and collectively, despite all odds, to save lives. The rescuers did not derail the Holocaust, but without them the number of Jewish deaths would have been larger and the genocide's aftereffects more devastating.

Keywords: Jews, Nazi persecution, witnesses, rescuers, genocide

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