“A Golden Star of David”
On New Year's Eve, 31 December 1941, members of the Dror underground in Vilna gathered in the apartment of Anton Schmid, a soldier of the German Army from Vienna, who was helping the Jews in the ghetto. To express their gratitude to the Wehrmacht soldier who was putting his life at risk to save them, they told him that after the war they would invite him to the Land of Israel and give him a golden Star of David. "I will wear it with pride," said Schmid. Unfortunately none lived to see that day. Soon after, Schmid was caught and executed; most, if not all of the Jews present at the meeting were killed in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, the promise to honor his actions was fulfilled 22 years later, when Yad Vashem, on behalf of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, bestowed the title of Righteous Among the Nations on the Austrian rescuer and his widow planted a tree in the Avenue of the Righteous in Jerusalem.
The promise made to Anton Schmid was described in a report by Lonka Koziebrodzka, a courier of the Zionist underground, who wrote a detailed account about the soldier who was risking his life to help Jews. The report was added to the many documents preserved in the Oneg Shabbat clandestine archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, and a heading was inserted saying that the report was "one of the series of Khassidei Umot HaOlam [the Righteous Among the Nations]". This term - Khassidei Umot HaOlam – has its roots in Jewish tradition and signifies non-Jews who stood by the Jewish people during times of hardship. Maimonides, the Jewish scholar and philosopher of the Middle Ages, referred to the Righteous as non-Jews who observe the seven Noahide commandments, i.e. who share the basic tenets of the Jewish moral and ethical code, including the prohibition of bloodshed