When these photographs were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the wall text read: “These portraits remind us that it is the individual who makes history and ultimately determines our definition of ourselves.” Then, I received a letter from the photography curator which said: “I don’t know if the pictures have made me a better person but they convinced me that it’s more possible to try.”
The first people we interviewed came from lists that social scientists had created in their studies of the altruistic personality. Their studies were more than academic: They reflected the profound concern we all have today. How do we create a generation of altruistic people?
We also depended upon Yad Vashem’s lists of recipients of their medal of honor. Serendipity also played a part in our search.
Emilie Guth and Ermine Orsi worked together in Marseilles in the French underground network. As a nurse, Madame Guth found hiding places for Jews in psychiatric hospitals or maternity wards. She also got food cards and money for the Jews while her friend, Madame Orsi moved them from place to place.