A book “Those Who Risked Their Lives” available for purchase at PAC-MI

newsletter_spring2016.pmd   In the cynical age in which we live, accounts of altruistic behavior by individuals who risked their lives for others during World War II should be especially welcome to readers. In wartime Poland, unlike in other German-occupied countries, gentiles who extended any form of assistance to Jews risked execution by Nazis. Despite cultural, religious, and linguistic differences between Polish Jews and Polish Christians, most Poles were sympathetic to the plight of the Jewish people.  Hundreds of thousands of Poles sheltered, fed, clothed, provided forged documents, and looked after the medical needs of Jews on a regular basis.  There were additionally hundreds of thousands of Poles whose assistance, though occasional and indirect, was no less dangerous. Poles who risked their lives by aiding Jews acted on values they had learned from their parents.  Often these virtues – compensation, empathy and generosity – were rooted in religious faith.  Moreover, many Poles, including those who had prewar anti-Semitic views, responded positively to the Jews as an expression of resistance against the hated Germans, who terrorized and killed Polish citizens longer than any other people in Europe. “Those Who Risked Their Lives” compiled, edited and annotated by Anna Poray, offers us a glimpse of some of the thousands of Poles who rescued Jews.  Several years ago, Rabbi Harold Schulweis observed that we needed to know the heroes and heroines, those exemplars of good, who helped Jews during the Holocaust.  “Those Who Risked Their Lives” records the name and experiences of many of these remarkable individuals. This important book is available for purchase at the Polish American Congress Michigan Division office.  Consider buying the book for your local library and school.