The State of Israel, on behalf of the Jewish people, conferred upon Yad Vashem the task of commemorating the acts of the "Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives to save Jews." Thus began a unique endeavor, in which the victims of an unprecedented crime commemorate not only those who have perished, but also those among the nations of perpetrators, collaborators and bystanders who protected Jews from death and deportation. Since the establishment of the program, Israel has included Dutch farmers, Polish workers, German soldiers, Lithuanian priests, Belgian nuns, and many others, among its heroes. The Righteous program is an expression of the Jewish people's affirmation of life, the survivors' resilience and their faith in mankind.
Since 1963, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, chaired by a retired Supreme Court Justice, is responsible for awarding the title of Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem is entrusted with the task of documenting the rescue stories, commemorating the Righteous and imparting their legacy.
Here are some of the milestones in the Righteous Program's history.