Righteous Among Nations

An honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis for altruistic reasons. As of 1 January 2021, the award has been made to 27,921 people. This Yad Vashem highlights that the table is not representative of the effort or proportion of Jews saved per country, and notes that these numbers “are not necessarily an indication of the actual number of rescuers in each country but reflect the cases that were made available to Yad Vashem.

Below is a partial list.

CountryNumber of awardsNotable recipients
 Poland7,177Jan KarskiMaria KotarbaIrena SendlerIrena Adamowicz
 Netherlands5,910Frits PhilipsJan Zwartendijk
 France4,150Anne BeaumanoirJeanne Brousse
 Ukraine2,673Klymentiy Sheptytsky
 Belgium1,774Queen Elisabeth of Belgium
 Lithuania918Ona Šimaitė
 Hungary876Endre SzervánszkySára Salkaházi
 Italy744Giorgio PerlascaGino BartaliGiuseppe GirottiOdoardo Focherini
 Germany641Oskar SchindlerWilm HosenfeldHans von DohnanyiBernhard Lichtenberg

A complete list can be found at this Wikipedia article.

Irena Sendler

A nurse, Irena Sendler, is credited with rescuing over 2,500 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto.

Head of the children’s section of Zegota – a secret organization that was a ‘Council to Aid Jews’. Her actions aroused the attention of the Gestapo, and in 1943 she was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death. A bribe saved her life, but nonetheless she was left unconscious in a forest, with both her arms and legs broken.

Tadeusz Pankiewicz

Within the Kraków Ghetto there were four prewar pharmacies owned by non-Jews. Tadeusz Pankiewicz was the only proprietor to decline the German offer of relocation to the non-Jewish side of the city. He was given permission to continue operating his establishment as the only pharmacy in the Ghetto.

He supplied the often-scarce medications and pharmaceutical products to the ghetto’s residents, often free of charge, and substantially improved their quality of life. Apart from health care considerations, Praniewicz dispensed hair dyes to disguise the identities of Jews, and tranquilizers given to fretful children to keep them silent during Gestapo raids.

Drs. Eugeniusz Lazowski and Stanislaw Matulewicz

In Rozwadow, Drs. Lazowski and Matulewicz (left) are credited with saving approximately 8,000 Jews by putting their medical knowledge to use. Knowing that the Germans were terrified of Typhus, the crafted a plan. They injected the town’s Jews with a benign form of typhus, and then informed the Nazis that an epidemic was at large. errified that it would spread, the Nazis quarantined the town and left it to its own devices.

Known as “the Polish Schindlers”, the two of them saved 12 ghetto communities in this crafty manner.

“I was not able to fight with a gun or a sword,” Lazowski said. “But I was able to find a way to scare the Germans.”.

“I was not able to fight with a gun or a sword,” Lazowski said. “But I was able to find a way to scare the Germans.”.