The Anatomy of Rescue in Yad Vashem Studies, Volume 40:1

Rachel Feldhay Brenner


The Anatomy of Rescue: The Wartime Diary of Aurelia Wyleżyńska, 1939–1944

Aurelia Wyleżyńska, a well-known Polish Gentile writer, stayed in Warsaw under occupation, writing an extensive diary. She was deeply engaged in helping the hiding Jews. Intended as a chronicle, the diary became a narrative centering on the Jewish theme, and especially on the psychological and ethical issues concerning rescue. While she denounced the general anti-Jewish attitude of the Polish population, Wyleżyńska focused on the complex dynamic of rescuer-rescuee interaction. The recognition of the devastating effect of the “Final Solution” on interpersonal relationships defined by the capacity for reciprocity, respect, and mutual understanding made her realize the frailty of the humanistic values in time of terror, and especially the meaning of altruistic action.  The diary traces an intricate story of the author’s inner change through unsparing moral self-evaluation and offers a profoundly edifying insight into the anatomy of rescue in a time of genocidal terror.

Products specifications
ISSN 0084-3296
Year 2012
ISBN 78-965-308-41
Catalog No. 240102
No. of Pages 25 pp.
Format Electronic article in Yad Vashem Studies, Volume 40:1, pp. 23-47, Edited by David Silberklang
Publisher Yad Vashem