Righteous Gentiles


Righteous Gentiles (RYE-tshihs DZHEN-tylez) listen


  • n. Non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis.

Example Sentences

  • "Turns out the parents/grandparents of owners of Piccolo Angolo Ristorante, saved the lives of 13 Jews during WWII: Ciro and Maria Garibaldi Cassinelli. (You can look up their story in the Yad Va’Shem archives.) And the owners proudly displayed their family’s designation as 'Righteous Gentiles' for everyone to see." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • English

Who Uses This

  • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education


  • North America


  • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).

Alternative Spellings

Righteous Gentile


  • See also gentile.

    "[Righteous gentiles'] heroism included hiding Jews in their homes, smuggling food to them, forging passports, and helping in other ways. The Hebrew term is hasidei ummot ha-olam (among the righteous of the nations of the world) and dates back to the Talmud. The term was used to describe Noah, a righteous man whom God chose to build an ark and save humanity. Perhaps the most famous Righteous Gentile in modern times is Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who worked in Budapest in 1944. He saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews by granting them Swedish citizenship; he was arrested and sent to a Siberian prison, and never seen again. The heroism of another Righteous Gentile, Oskar Schindler, is dramatized in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List. Denmark is considered a nation of Righteous Gentiles for its largely successful efforts to save the country’s Jews during World War II. At the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, there is a special grove of trees in tribute to Righteous Gentiles." (JPS)

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