Many know the stories of Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler who risked their lives to save Jewish people. Hurowitz presents the background and actions of ten lesser known individuals who demonstrated great strength of character, determination, and compassion while doing the right thing when their actions could result in their demise too. The ten righteous people covered include: the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes; Princess Alice of Battenberg in Greece; Gino Bartali, an Italian tour de France winner; the Japanese vice counsel/spy in Kovno, Lithuania Chinue Sugihara; circus ringmaster Adolf Althoff and his wife Maria; Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz a German Foreign minister in Copenhagen and the entire population of Denmark; Polish social worker Irena Sendler; Hiram Bingham IV (Harry), vice counsel at the consulate in Marseille; protestant pastor Andre Trocme in the French village of Le Chambon sur Lignon in the département of Haute-Loire.
The well-written and researched accounts of these individuals and those who assisted them are all compelling and include their backgrounds, details of their extraordinary actions, and the aftermath of their actions. Hurowitz’s research also reveals the rescuers’ greatly varied motivations and examines the common traits among these individuals that encouraged them to do the right thing. Since the historical accounts are detailed and cover a wide variety of areas across many countries, this is a history that requires careful reading to follow who is where and what is occurring there. In the Garden of the Righteous by Richard Hurowitz is an excellent biography of ten people who are the Righteous Among the Nations. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins via Edelweiss.