A historic occasion celebrating the introduction of the bipartisan S.91, Forgotten Heroes of the Holocaust Congressional Gold Medal Act, which grants a Congressional Gold Medal to 60 diplomats in recognition of their bravery and heroism during the Holocaust, was held in the opulent Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building.
These diplomats helped Jews escape persecution by every means possible.
The issuance of passports and travel visas against the advice of the diplomats’ nations was one of their most effective techniques.
Thousands of Jewish families were saved throughout Europe thanks to this technique alone.
As many of the ambassadors had ties to the local populace and were excellent communicators for Jews seeking to move clandestinely, this was not the only strategy employed.
They were able to construct safehouses and retreats where Jews, particularly Jewish children, could be hidden from Nazi authorities. Several of these ambassadors directly engaged the Nazis on behalf of the Jews at the most hazardous of times, putting their own lives in considerable jeopardy.
This Congressional initiative, led by Project Legacy, is presided over by Abraham Foxman, the National Director Emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and businessman Art Reidel. Former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who served as the event’s master of ceremonies, commended US Representatives Maria Salazar and Ritchie Torres for introducing H.R. 537.
The United States was represented by Stacy Bernard Davis, Deputy Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues. Division of State.
Abraham Foxman, the chairman of the committee that will determine whether to award the Forgotten Heroes of the Holocaust Congressional Gold Medal, succinctly summarized the importance of the legislative endeavor in the following words: “I chose a long time ago not to be a witness to the evil, to the cruelty that mankind are capable of. I took the decision to stand up for kindness, decency, compassion, and humanity, as well as for my nanny Bronislawa Kurpi and all the other people who have made a significant impact by saving lives—Jewish lives. And that’s why I’m here today, and I hope you are too, to celebrate, recognize, embrace, and give thanks to the diplomats who placed their careers, reputations, pensions, and maybe even their liberties on the line to save thousands of Jews.