Last week I informed you of the Holocaust Collection at Footnote.com. With the Holocaust at the top of my mind and the fact that I just finished at book called Clara's War by Clara Kramer and Stephen Gantz, I was encouraged to share with you what I learned this week in the hopes it will help someone else in their family history research. Let’s start with the book; Clara was a Jewish teenage girl living in Poland during WWII. She survived by hiding underneath the floor boards of a house owned by the Beck’s along with 18 others. Clara kept a diary during this time and it is from her diary and her own recollections that she tells her story. Her diary is in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
As stated in last week’s post I often wonder about some of my own Polish ancestors who lived through these horrific times. Although they were not Jewish I can’t help but wonder how this war impacted their lives. This book educated me on an organization called Yad Vashem and The Righteous Among the Nations.
Yad Vashem was established in 1953 and is Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The Yad Vashem has collected and recorded the names and biographical details of half of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. Millions more still remain unidentified. They have taken it on as their duty to persist until all the names are recovered. They have also created a Virtual Wall of Honour called “The Righteous Among the Nations.” This memorial recognizes non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust at personal risk to themselves. On their website you will find the list of those who were saved and those who assisted them. The names are listed by countries and alphabetically as well as some personal accounts are available to read on the website.
I did happen to find a name I was looking for on this site. I contacted the organization and they were able to give me some incites in to this particular story of this individual so that I could verify whether this person was in fact a relative. I realized it was a long shot but of course as family historians we can leave no stone unturned. However, I was not successful.
Instead, I share this story with you today for two reasons; perhaps this organization can help you in your quest for a family member and secondly maybe you know of a Holocaust Victim who survived due to the courage and kindness of an individual. You can submit testimony and send photographs of the victims so they will always be remembered. If you fall into neither category then still pay this website a visit, the stories are moving and worthy of your time and attention.