Helene Jacobs

If I say the rescuer is extraordinary, like Mother Teresa, I let myself off the hook. Who can be a saint? By making the rescuer larger than life as a hero, and by making the Nazi a demon, I exempt myself. I would never be a Nazi but neither would I ever be a rescuer.

This work taught me that there were four parts to play in the war: perpetrator, victim, bystander and rescuer. There are still four parts to play in life, and this leads to a painful inquiry. Would I, could I, have done what they did? More to the point, what is it that I am doing now?

Rescue is, thank God, not always necessary but to be a caring person is how rescue starts. Today we must listen to cries of suffering around us and respond. We must also listen to cries of hatred that threaten to destroy our society and act.


Helene Jacobs
Born in Berlin Helene Jacobs realized as early as 1923, that she had to fight Hitler. In 1932, when she was studying to be a lawyer, she began her rescue work by providing counterfeit papers.