Saving lives during the Holocaust
The Holocaust Memorial Center is a memorial, a venue of compassion with the victims. At the same time, an important part of its mission are introducing the brave activities of rescuers, standing up for the respect of human rights and the protection of human lives.
The Second World War represents a collapse of the universal moral values. In spite of this, the acts of rescuers display humanity above individual and material considerations. The rescuers, secretly saving lives of Jews in hostile surroundings, in permanent danger of being discovered, could not count on the support of the majority of the population. These acts represent the highest level of valor, similar to the courage displayed on the battlefields.
For already a decade, paying a ceremonial homage to the rescuers is part of the celebration of the Day of Humanity on August 4, birthday of Raoul Wallenberg. Further efforts in research and teaching are needed to provide the proper place for rescuers in educating humanism, tolerance and solidarity. Therefore, the objective of our institution is to research and register actions of rescuing, sites of Jewish resistance and of self-rescuing, as well as to honor the activities of the Righteous Among the Nations and to support the Society of Just People..
Up to January 2013, 806 Hungarian rescuers have been bestowed the Righteous Among the Nations award. We continue to submit cases to the Yad Vashem Institute for recognition in the line with the Israeli requirements.
We believe that there are still many cases of life saving activities, both within and without the Hungarian border, that are still waiting to be researched and the supporting documentation compiled. To this aim, a separate office was established within our Institution in 2012. The Chairing Board of the Society of Just People, that founded the Plaque for Commitment, has also been formed. The Plaque represents a belated gesture of public appreciation of the morality of rescuers.