An examination of the reasons why some Gentiles risked themselves in order to save Jews during the Holocaust.
This paper discusses what motivated some Gentiles to overcome their fear of death to aid Jews in escaping from the Nazis. It looks at the history of this phenomenon and focuses on the efforts made by Gentiles in Denmark, which had a population of 8000 Jews before the war. It mentions the efforts made by Daniel Trocme, who saved hundreds of Jewish children, and explains the processes and procedures he had to go through in order to perform this righteous task.
“When searching for motivations strong enough to outweigh one’s instinct for survival, one discovers that he/she must truly start with a much simpler question. Instead of beginning with Why or How, the first question must be Who. To understand why they helped, one must first understand who they were. The list of rescuers is extremely diverse and somewhat long, making it difficult to focus on common traits. Therefore, who has innumerable answers for no one story of rescue is the same. Rescuers were peasants and aristocrats, police officers and clergy, doctors and diplomats. Most were Christians but some were Jews with falsified papers. They could be friends and neighbors, employers and employees, or even complete strangers.”