Expatica countries
Index Last Var.(%)
BEL 20 3083.51 0.32
DAX 9605.08 0.17
IBEX 30 10058.5 -1.04
CAC 40 4387.61 -0.20
FTSE 100 6806.86 -0.05
AEX 397.5 -0.20
DJIA 16272.65 0.46
Nasdaq 4318.933 0.63
FTSE MIB 20298.33 -0.11
TSX Composite 14214.35 0.18
ASX 5415.4 -0.10
Hang seng 22836.96 0.04
Straits Times 3110.78 0.45
ISEQ 20 836.3 0.23
EUR / USD 1.37976 0.67
EUR / GBP 0.82571 0.59
USD / GBP 0.598544 -0.10
Gold 1329.6 -0.13
Oil 108.9 -0.76
Silver 21.28 0.08
You are here: Home News German News German honoured for riskinghis life to save Jews
Enlarge font Decrease font Text size

03/11/2004German honoured for riskinghis life to save Jews

4 November 2004

FLOSSENBURG - Herbert Herden says he would do it all over again: Risking his life to save Polish Jews during the Holocaust.

"I risked every day of my life for four long years," the 89-year- old German says at his home in the Rhineland town of Flossenburg.

"But I was able to save a few lives, so it was worth every risk that I took."

On Thursday, a diplomatic entourage from Israel's embassy in Berlin will go to Flossenburg to confer upon Herden the title "Righteous Among Nations". His name will be inscribed at Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial.

The highest honour conveyed by Israel, the title of Righteous Among the Nations has been given to more than 350 non-Jewish Germans who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Herden was a young policeman and intelligence officer in Nazi- occupied Cracow 65 years ago. The then 24-year-old officer was assigned to lodgings in a house confiscated from a Polish Jewish family.

Instead of throwing the family out onto the street, Herden befriended the family and gave them shelter. Over the next two years, until the Germans retreated in the advance of Soviet troops, Herden hid "his family" and their friends and acquaintances from the Gestapo.

"I regularly took in Jewish adults and children," he recalls. "At the time I didn't think twice. I just saw people who were in trouble and who needed help. And I was in a position to help them. So I helped them. I didn't need to think twice about it."

He does not recall how many people he helped.

"I expect it was 20 or so, not a whole lot really," he says modestly.

In 1944 the Gestapo finally got on to his activities, and Herden spent the rest of the war at Dachau concentration camp, where he managed to survive.

After the war, he made contact with a number of those whom he had rescued.

"They had spread to the four corners of the Earth," he says. "Some were in Israel. Others were in the U.S. and Canada. A few were still in Poland," he remembers.

But he never boasted of his deeds. It was not until 2001 that one man who had owed his life informed Yad Vashem officials on his death bed of his debt to Herden.

The man, Yitzhak Lieber, told the officials that he had been sentenced to death by Nazi occupation officials. But on the eve of his execution, in a daring raid resembling a scene from a Hollywood movie, Herden sneaked Lieber out of his jail cell to freedom under the very noses of Nazi guards.

Herden does not play up his fortitude, but he has no sympathy with his generation of Germans who claimed they "knew nothing and could do nothing" about the Holocaust.

"A cloak of silence descended on Germany after the war," he explains. "Everybody said they had known nothing and that they couldn't have done anything even had they known anything. That was a lot of nonsense, of course. All you needed was a tiny bit of what my Jewish friends call chutzpah and what I call gumption."

The name Yad Vashem (literally "a monument and a name"), comes from Isaiah 56:5: "I will give them, in my house and in my walls, a monument and a name, better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall never be effaced."

To this end, Yad Vashem set up a public committee headed by a retired Supreme Court justice, which is responsible for granting the title Righteous Among Nations.

This project is the only one of its kind in the world that honours, using set criteria, the actions of those individuals who rescued Jews during the war.

As of January 2004, more than 20,000 people have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, among them more than 250 Germans.


Subject: German news


0 reactions to this article

0 reactions to this article

Discussion Forums

Healthcare in Germany

Dutch or German Healthcare ?

Community Noticeboard Germany

English Comedy in Berlin

Personal Finance in Germany

Monday's Currency Update

Personal Finance in Germany

Weekly currench crunch

Personal Finance in Germany

Expatica End of Week Currency Roundup

participate in the forums

Inside Expatica
The ABCs of the German school system

The ABCs of the German school system

What you need to know about German schools and daycare.

German immigration and residency regulations

German immigration and residency regulations

Want to move to Germany but haven’t figured out the details? Check out Expatica’s overview of the German permit system.

Driving in Berlin: Rules, habits and fines

Driving in Berlin: Rules, habits and fines

In part one of our two part series, we cover the driving culture in Berlin, where to park and buy gas and, most importantly, the laws.

Looking for work in Germany: The in depth version

Looking for work in Germany: The in depth version

Our comprehensive guide includes information on how to find work, recruitment agencies, employment contracts and labour law.

0news 1local_news 2german-honoured-for-riskingbrhis-life-to-save-jews-13557