Righteous Among the Nations

Whoever saves a single life saves an entire world. —Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a

Six million innocent Jews, among them 1.5 million children, were murdered during the Holocaust. However, tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe were rescued by gentiles, non-Jewish individuals.

The title Righteous Among the Nations is awarded to non-Jewish individuals who risked their lives and the lives of their families to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.

The price that rescuers paid if caught was extermination. In some cases entire villages were executed.

When many collaborated with the Nazis or turned a blind eye to the mass deportation and systematic murder of Jews, these individuals, guided by their moral convictions, demonstrated that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary courage.

As of today, more than 26,000 individuals from 51 countries have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.

The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem (CSYV) has the responsibility and privilege of recognizing Righteous Among the Nations or their descendants who made Canada their home for their post-war lives. CSYV honours the gentiles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust in special ceremonies across Canada.

Recipients are conferred a specially minted medal bearing the name of the Righteous and a certificate of honour. Names of the Righteous Among the Nations are inscribed on True Heroes Wall at the CSYV Holocaust Memorial Site at Earl Bales Park. Righteous Among the Nations demonstrate that freedom of choice does exist; that, even in the midst of opposition, it is still possible to live one’s life with moral conviction and integrity. It also shows that one person can make a difference.

CSYV encourages Canadian educators to include the individual stories about Righteous Among the Nations in their educational programs while teaching this important topic in the classroom.

The CSYV encourages Canadian educators to include the individual stories about Righteous Among the Nations in their educational programs while teaching this important topic in the classroom.