It can be difficult to imagine happiness during the time of the Holocaust, as millions of innocent lives were lost. And while remembering the sober aspects of that tragedy is important, it's also uplifting when stories of hope and love surface. Many unaffected citizens risked their livelihoods to ensure the safety of their neighbors. Many prisoners put others' safety before their own. And many people of extreme political prominence did their part in making sure the events would not be easily forgiven or forgotten.
Vote up the stories of love and heroism in the face of adversity that truly warmed your heart.
Eugene Lazowski Saved 8,000 People From Being Sent To The Camps By Pretending They Had Typhus
As a young man fresh out of medical school in Poland, Eugene Lazowski couldn't turn his back on his Jewish neighbors. In fact, he risked his life on a daily basis to help those citizens when German forces invaded Poland. If a Jewish person required medical help for anything, the secret process of alerting the young doctor was to hang a rag on Lazowski's fence. Then, under the cover of darkness, he would visit them on a house call. He claimed that the oath he took in medical school required him to assist all people in need of medical attention, regardless of gender, race, or religion.
But that's not all young Lazowski did to help save his Jewish neighbors. While experimenting with bacterial injections, he discovered that if a person was given a vaccine containing dead epidemic typhus bacteria, they would in fact test positive for the disease but suffer no adverse effects. Because the soldiers deporting Jews wouldn't want to suffer a deadly outbreak at any of the camps, they wouldn't bother taking those afflicted. Lazowski injected this vaccine into many people within his town, triggering a quarantine for the area, and saving the lives of about 8,000 people from suffering the horrific conditions of concentration camps.2,77037Inspiring story?
Danish People Helped Hide And Evacuate Thousands Of Their Jewish Neighbors, Saving 90% Of Danish Jews
During a time where six million Jewish lives were lost, it's astounding that more than 90% of Jews living in Denmark survived the reign of the Third Reich. When news began to spread that Danish Jews were scheduled to be forcibly evacuated to the camps, their Danish neighbors decided to work together to save them for the fate that awaited them. People began urging all Jews in the area to hide or flee quickly, and helped them do that successfully.
By using the safe haven offered by nearby Sweden, Jewish people would stow away on small boats making the trek. It's estimated 7,200 lives were saved by successfully making it to Sweden during the rushed escape. Most Danes refused to take credit for their heroism after the war, but the ordinary folks of Denmark are in large part responsible for saving thousands of lives.1,59414Inspiring story?
- Photo: FOTO:FORTEPAN /ARCHIV FÜR ZEITGESCHICHTE ETH ZÜRICH / AGNES HIRSCHI / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Carl Lutz has become somewhat famous in his own right for the efforts he made to save thousands of Jews who were destined for the camps. A Hungarian diplomat, Lutz refused to stand by and let Hungarian Jews be deported. His way of helping came by way of documents he issued that claimed protection by the Swiss Legion. He extended Swiss protection to cover the safe houses those with papers were crammed into to avoid deportation; he also created forged documents to distribute more than the 8,000 he was allowed to.
By the end of the Second World War, Lutz and other diplomats were responsible for saving about half of the Jewish population in Budapest, which equaled about 62,000 innocent lives. His bravery and commitment to saving them using brilliant tactics cemented his heroism during those trying times. His stepdaughter commented on Lutz's outlook of the situation as: "The laws of life are stronger than man-made laws... My father always considered his time in Budapest and the rescue of innocent Jews as the most important part of his life."1,3958Inspiring story?
Two Jewish Prisoners Saved Nearly 40,000 Inmate Pictures With A Clever Plan
As was common in many concentration camps during WWII, many prisoners in Auschwitz were forced to do administrative and labor duties: sorting new arrivals' possessions, constructing and expanding the camps, and taking photos of the other captives. Nearly 39,000 prison photographs were taken in the photo lab at Auschwitz alone.
In 1945, during the camp evacuation, photo lab workers Wilhelm Brasse and Bronisław Jureczek were directed to burn all photographic evidence. Instead, the men came up with a way to save the pictures. They placed wet photo paper at the bottom of the furnace before placing the real pictures inside. With the furnace so packed and the wet paper creating so much smoke, the blaze went out quickly, and - once unsupervised - the men were able to take the unharmed pictures from the furnace to smuggle them out. They were later cataloged and have been kept in the Archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.1,60424Inspiring story?