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

Image: getty images

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.”

Written by


Your Comments

The 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 Forward requires 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 and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. 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 Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

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

Thank you!

This article has been sent!