At the entrance to the Avenue of the Righteous Among Nations stands a tree honoring Irena Sendler, a non-Jewish Polish social worker who repeatedly snuck into the Warsaw Ghetto to lead Jewish children to safety. On a wall not far distant, the names Adolf and Maria Althoff are inscribed to honor the bravery of the German circus owners who sheltered Jews under their Big Tent. And down a walkway stands a statue of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese diplomat in France who defied his government by issuing visas to fleeing Jews, saving 30,000 lives.
Sendler, the Althoffs and de Sousa Mendes are but four of the 27,921 non-Jews who found the courage and moral fortitude to defy the authorities and their neighbors by risking everything to protect Jews persecuted by the Nazis.
At a moment when bigotry, intolerance and authoritarianism are once again ascendant, Richard Hurowitz has written In the Garden of the Righteous, an extraordinary volume chronicling not only the heroes and heroines who rescued Jews but, as Golda Meir once said, “saved hope and the faith in the human spirit.”
In conjunction with the opening of our Violins of Hope: Every Violin Has a Story exhibition, part of the Violins of Hope programming at Temple Emanu-El’s Bernard Museum of Judaica, Hurwitz joins us on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day for a conversation with Abe Foxman about the people who refused to close their eyes or immerse themselves in passivity and the lessons they pass on about kindness and conviction.
A writer and entrepreneur, Richard Hurowitz is the founder and publisher of the Octavian Report. His work has appeared in major newspapers and magazines.
Abe Foxman served as National Director of the Anti-Defamation League for 28 years and then as vice chair of the board of trustees at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, where he led its efforts on antisemitism.
The Violins of Hope: Every Violin Has A Story Exhibition will run from January 31 – March 28, 2023 at the Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum at Temple Emanu-El.
Museum hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM