Holocaust Survivor Mordecai Paldiel
Original Program Date: November 15, 2020
Dr. Mordecai Paldiel is a leading scholar on the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust. Born in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1937, to Jewish parents who had moved there from Poland – during the German invasion of Belgium, in May 1940, the family fled to France. Originally settled in St. Gaudin, southwestern France, the family, then known as Wajsfeld, moved to various parts of occupied France. In September 1943, with the help of the Catholic cleric Simon Gallay, the family, then numbering parents and six children, fled to Switzerland, where they stayed until the war’s end — then returned to Belgium. In 1950, the family moved to the USA, and settled in Brooklyn.
In 1962, Mordecai Paldiel made Aliyah and studied at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where he earned a BA degree in Economics and Political Science. He then furthered his studies at Temple University, Philadelphia, where he earned an MA and PhD in Holocaust Studies, under the tutorship of Professor Franklin H. Littell.
Returning to Israel, Paldiel was nominated director of the Righteous Among the Nations Department, at Yad Vashem – the country’s national Holocaust Memorial, a post he occupied from 1982 to 2007. During that 24-year stint, under Paldiel’s stewardship, some 18,000 non-Jewish men and women from various countries were awarded the prestigious honor of “Righteous Among the Nations,” by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, for their role in saving Jews from the Nazis at considerable risks to themselves.
Paldiel is currently teaching, in New York: at Yeshiva University-Stern College, New York – courses in Holocaust & Rescue, and History of Zionism; as well as Touro college, in Modern European History. He also taught at Drew University, in Madison, New Jersey, and Richard Stockton College, Pomona, New Jersey. Paldiel also lectures before interesting groups on topics dealing with the rescue of Jews.
Dr. Paldiel has published 12 books and numerous articles on the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust, including the following books: “The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust”; “Saving the Jews: Amazing Stories of Men and Women Who Defied the Final Solution”; “Churches and the Holocaust: Unholy Teaching, Good Samaritans & Reconciliation”; “Diplomat Heroes of the Holocaust”; “Saving One’s Own: Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust”; “German Rescuers of Jews: Individuals versus the Nazi System.” “Righteous Gentiles: Israel’s Honoring of Rescuers of Jews;” and “Remembrance and Meaning: Dialogues and Thoughts on the Significance of Holocaust Rescuers.”
Listen in to hear Dr. Paldiel share his story: