The term Righteous Among The Nations is a highly respected title used by the State of Israel to depict non-Jews who risked lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from being killed by the Nazis for beneficial reasons.
It is recorded that the term is derived from the concept of Righteous Gentiles, a term used in rabbinic Judaism to refer to non-Jews called Ger Toshav.
In the year 1953, Israel’s parliament known as the Knesset passed a law structuring Yad Vashem as their Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Memorial Authority. The task included the celebration of the six million Jews assassinated by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust.
Additionally, tribute is paid to those Jews resistance fighters and honoring those “high-minded Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews.”
The Avenue of The Righteous is a place where trees are planted to celebrate rescuers. This was initiated on Holocaust Remembrance Day in the year 1962. After that year, a commission which was chaired by a member of Israel’s Supreme Court was set up to decide upon the criteria to award the Righteous Among the Nations. Justice Moshe Landau chaired the commission’s first meeting on 1st February.
Read also: What’s The Meaning Of Righteous Indignation?
Who Are The Righteous Among the Nations?
The title Righteous Among the Nations refers to the non-Jews who risked their lives and freedom to help Jews persecuted by Nazis during World War II. This title has been awarded by the State of Israel to rescuers around the world since 1963.
To today, 27, 712 people from 51 countries have been given the title of Righteous Among the Nations including 7,112 Poles as of 2020.
Who Can Become A Righteous?
According to sources, The Yad Vashem Institute located in Jerusalem can only decide who to be awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations through a specific committee that assesses all submissions. The committee set up are historians and witnesses to history.
The most important documents which are required from all submitters are accounts of the person who benefited from the help. Not all applications are accepted though. Some are because of insufficient documentation obtained in return for the help given.