Can we trust people other than ourselves?

Humanity and the Holocaust (Topic 2, part 2)

In April 2020, to coincide with Yom HaShoah, the day in the Jewish calendar dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, and the 75th anniversary of the liberation, Rabbi Sacks launched a series of videos offering his perspective on many of the big questions raised when studying the Holocaust.

There’s this very remarkable avenue called the Avenue of Righteous Gentiles, in Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem. 14,000 people are honoured there, people whom any one of us would trust because they put their own lives at risk to save the lives of their neighbours and in some cases of strangers.

I think of the extraordinary courage of people like Pastor Trocme and the villages of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. I think of figures like Oscar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg. I think of figures like the Chinese diplomat who provided maybe tens of thousands of visas for Jews of Vienna to escape mainly to Shanghai.

These were beacons of light in the midst of one of the worst darknesses humanity has ever known, and therefore, yes, we can trust humanity if humanity shows itself capable of acting for the sake of others and taking risks to save others from death.

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This series, created in partnership with the Holocaust Educational Trust, has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Richard Harris.

View the full Holocaust series of curriculum resources with additional discussion questions and historical background