But Schulweis persisted, believing that if the Jewish people were to heal from the trauma, the path had to be through forgiveness, and forgiveness could only come by knowing of the tens of thousands who helped to save some of the 500,000 Jews who survived the war.
His other motivation was more personal. He wanted to tell his children about the Holocaust but didn’t know how until he heard about the rescuers. They gave him a way to begin. The Holocaust reinforces what most children already know: the world contains unjustified evil. The rescuers teach another lesson: the world also contains unjustified, amazing good.
When we teach Holocaust to Jewish. children, especially, we must tell them that we weren’t entirely alone. We must tell them that while nations abandoned us, individuals sheltered us. If we tell children only of the horror, we destroy their innocence. We will leave them frightened and enraged, incendiary emotions that can lead to more prejudice. The lesson of the Holocaust must not be to fear and to hate Germans. The Shoah is a searing example of how intolerance leads to oppression-its legacy must not be hatred.
In 1933 Gertrud Luckner obtained the addresses of all the Jewish institutions in Germany; she visited them to warn them about the Nazis and later went from place to place to help.
Her work with Dr. Leo Baeck, a Berlin rabbi, led to her arrest in 1943 and imprisonment for two years in the concentration camp, Ravensbruck.