Irish Quaker Woman Named Nation's First Righteous Gentile for Aiding Jews

Mary Elms From County Cork Helped Children Escape Nazi Camp

getty images

By JTA

Published May 16, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A non-Jewish woman from Cork who risked her life to save Jewish children from the Nazis has become Ireland’s first Righteous among the Nations.

Mary Elms, who died in 2002, helped “a large number of Jewish children” escape the Rivesaltes detention camp in France in August-September of 1942, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial authority in Israel.

Elms was in Perpignan, France, as a regional delegate of the Religious Society of Friends, a Christian stream known also as Quakers. As a citizen of Ireland — which was neutral during World War II, the pro-Nazi, collaborationist French authorities allowed Elms to stay after all the British citizens in the region were kicked out.

The Irish Times on Wednesday quoted one of the children she saved, Ronald Friend, as saying the award was “a long overdue recognition of Mary Elms’ courageous and selfless actions in rescuing me and many other children when convoys were regularly departing to the death camps.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.