B’nai B’rith to honor Jews who rescued Jews from Nazis

Newly created Citation of Jewish Rescue aimed at recognizing the heroism of Jews, often unappreciated in historical research.

April 22, 2011 02:41
1 minute read.
Holocaust survivors at Yad Vashem

Holocaust survivors 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )

B’nai B’rith will award its first accolade honoring Jews who risked their lives to save their brethren during World War II on May 5, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Alan Schneider, director of B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem, said Thursday the newly created Citation of Jewish Rescue was aimed at recognizing the heroism of Jews, often unappreciated in historical research.

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“It’s an award that is going to Jews who went beyond the call of duty to rescue other Jews during the Holocaust,” he said.

“It’s part of an activity we’ve been doing for 10 years to study the phenomenon of Jews saving Jews, an issue not researched enough or at all, especially in relation to the research done on the murder of Jews and, of course, righteous gentiles which have been recognized in the tens of thousands. But often they could not have saved Jews without the help of other Jews.”

In its inaugural year, the Citation of Jewish Rescue will be awarded to the descendants of the late Yehoshua and Henny Birenbaum, a Jewish couple who took care of dozens of orphans during and after the war.

The Birenbaums survived being interned at Bergen-Belsen, where the father of the family was put in charge of looking after 50 young children. After the war the couple made aliya together with their children and orphans they had adopted.

The citation will be given to the deceased couple’s family at a joint ceremony with the Jewish National Fund held at Martyrs Forest outside Jerusalem.

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