“We Decided that It Would be Better for Our Children to Have Dead Parents than Cowardly Parents”


Source of Photo (Eberhard Helmrich on right): http://collections.yadvashem.org/photosarchive/en-us/5854513_25517.html


Source of Photo of Donata Helmrich:


During the Holocaust, Eberhard Helmrich was a major in the German army; he also was the commandant of a farm in Drohobycz, East Galicia, on which Jews worked during the Holocaust. The farm was in Drohobycz, East Galicia. (Galicia is a region that straddles the borders of Poland and Ukraine.) Major Helmrich learned about plans for the Jews in the region to be liquidated, and he and his wife, Donata, were able to save some of them. Many girls from Poland and Ukraine were being brought to Germany to work as servants. He and his wife saved the lives of over a dozen Jewish girls by giving them false credentials. Donata got the Jewish girls jobs in homes in Berlin without Polish or Ukrainian people so that the Jewish girls could keep their identities hidden. After the Holocaust, the Helmriches said, “We were fully aware of the risks and the conflict of responsibilities, but we decided that it would be better for our children to have dead parents than cowardly parents. From then on it was comparatively easy. We figured that once we saved two people, we’d be even with Hitler if we were caught, and every person saved beyond that would put us one ahead.”

Yad Vashem named both Helmriches Righteous Among the Nations.

Source: Paldiel, Mordecai. The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust. Hoboken, New Jersey: KTAC Publishing House, Inc., 1993. In association with The Jewish Foundation for Christian Rescuers. pp. 166-67.

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1 Response to “We Decided that It Would be Better for Our Children to Have Dead Parents than Cowardly Parents”

  1. MIK says:

    Thank you for posting this. My mother was among those saved by Major Eberhard (albeit not as one of the girls taken to Germany). My gratitude to him is obviously eternal.

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