Heroism of non-Jews during Shoah the focus of new social media campaign
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Heroism of non-Jews during Shoah the focus of new social media campaign

#DontBeABystander launched jointly by The Claims Conference and Yad Vashem to honour the Righteous for Holocaust Memorial Day

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Andrzej Czestochowa, Poland, Deportation of Jews from the ghetto, 1942
Andrzej Czestochowa, Poland, Deportation of Jews from the ghetto, 1942

The Claims Conference and Yad Vashem have launched a new social media campaign to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, to honour those who helped Jews during the Holocaust.

#Don’tBeABystander consists of a series of short videos to highlight heroic actions by non-Jews. The videos have been posted on a  number of social media platforms.

Gideon Taylor, the Irish-born president of the Claims Conference, said: “The Jewish people owe a debt of gratitude to their Righteous rescuers. For some Jewish families at their most desperate hour, their saviours were guided by conscience and moral imperative, even above their own safety. It is our duty not only to honour the rescuers for their refusal to be bystanders, but also to share their heroic endeavours, as a counterbalance to humanity’s darkness and indifference during the Holocaust”.

Warsaw, Poland, Germans in pursuit of children who smuggled goods into the ghetto

Dani Dayan, Yad Vashem chairman, said: “Yad Vashem’s mission has always been, and continues to be, to perpetuate the memory of the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. Yet from its inception, Yad Vashem has also been dedicated to recognising the bravery and selflessness of non-Jewish individuals who stood up in the face of the absolute evil that swept across much of Europe and areas of North Africa, and protected Jews at a time when hostility and indifference prevailed. This project highlights a few of the 28,000 Righteous Among the Nations recognised so far by Yad Vashem, who are still alive today”.

One of the Righteous whose story will be highlighted in the campaign is Andrzej Sitkowski, who was recognised by Yad Vashem in 1995, together with his mother, for saving the Kosak sisters, Marion and Hadassah. Andrzej and the sisters maintained contact long after the war.
Hadassah Kosak added: “It was the bravery and heroism of Andrzej Sitkowski and his family to offer two girls and their mother a shelter in their home where we survived the Nazi horrors. We were treated as family, and, to this day, our extended families keep in touch.”

Andrzej Sitkowski

Rescuer Andrzej Sitkowski, son of rescuer Helena Sitkowski: #DontBeABystander

“I say to young people not to be indifferent when they see something wrongdoing going on and you could help. Don’t forget in any situation that you are a human being and human beings can do much more than you may expect” – Andrzej Sitkowski, Righteous Among the Nations. Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference: “'Whomsoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe' is inscribed on the medals awarded by Yad Vashem to Righteous Among the Nations. Though not literal, the concept is not difficult to imagine; if a teenager was saved by a Righteous rescuer, we can look at that child's family tree and see the subsequent generations with its branches intact – children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Without these rescuers, refusing to be a bystander, they acted and saved the lives of Jews, otherwise this family tree could not exist.” The Claims Conference’s #DontBeABystander highlights individuals -those brave non-Jews who risked everything, including their own lives, to save Jews during the Holocaust – that put morality and humanity ahead of personal preservation, a lens not widely explored in the context of Holocaust education. On June 29, 1995, Yad Vashem recognized Helena Sitkowska and her son, Andrzej Sitkowski, as Righteous Among the Nations. Please watch and share Andrzej’s video message of humanity and #NeverForget.#Holocaust #Holocaustsurvivor #HolocaustEducation

Posted by Claims Conference (Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany) on Thursday, January 20, 2022

Anna Bando 

Rescuer Anna Bando, daughter of rescuer Janina Stupnicka: #DontBeABystander

“Rescuing people and helping all those who needed it and who are in worse condition – that’s how I was brought up, to help people” – Anna Bando. After the war, Holocaust survivors testified that Janina Stupnicka and her daughter Anna Bando provided their assistance to their living – including food and acquisition of documents – without any remuneration. Rather, they risked their lives to save the lives of others for purely humanitarian motives. Please watch and share Anna’s video so that the world never forgets her and her mother’s courage. Throughout the #DontBeABystander social media campaign, individuals from around the world will share what compelled them to save Jewish neighbors, friends and families, and even strangers, and reflect back eight decades later on how this act of bravery impacted their lives. Gideon Taylor, Claims Conference President: “The Jewish people owe a debt of gratitude to their Righteous rescuers. For some Jewish families at their most desperate hour, their saviors were guided by conscience and moral imperative, even above their own safety.” In 1984, Anna Bando and her mother Janina Stupnicka were honored by Yad Vashem: World Holocaust Center, Jerusalem with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.#NeverForget #Holocaust #HolocaustEducation #Holocaustsurvivor

Posted by Claims Conference (Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany) on Thursday, January 20, 2022

Aharon Barak https://www.facebook.com/ClaimsConference/videos/279108374206851/

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