WASHINGTON – Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), today introduced legislation that properly recognizes the selfless efforts to save innocent lives during the Holocaust by Theodor Criveanu and other righteous individuals. Hastings introduced the legislation with Helsinki Commission Ranking Minority Member, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) as well as Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN), and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA). (Please find attached a copy of the legislation HERE)
Theodor Criveanu served as a reserve officer in the Romanian military during World War II, where he was assigned the task of presenting military authorities with a list of Jews who would be given work permits to work in the ghetto instead of being deported to Transnistria. Defying Nazi orders, Mr. Criveanu risked his own life by secretly issuing work permits in numbers that exceeded the work permit quota to Jews who were not essential to the workforce, saving countless lives.
“I am honored to recognize the heroic efforts of Theodor Criveanu who saved countless lives of innocent Jews as well as all other righteous individuals. During this horrific time in history, many brave individuals risked their own lives to rescue innocent Jews during the Holocaust that still have yet to be recognized – a fact that I find to be deeply troubling.
“Thousands of these heroes stories remain untold because the Nazis mercilessly ended their lives. For those who survived the Holocaust and for those that did not, I stand here today in honor of their heroism. Mr. Criveanu and other such individuals made the ultimate sacrifice and for that they deserve to be remembered and revered by this Congress for their selfless acts of courage,” Hastings said.
In 1963, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, initiated a worldwide project to grant the title of Righteous Among the Nations to individuals who were not Jewish and who risked their lives to rescue and protect Jews and others during the Holocaust. To date, more than 21,000 heroic individuals have been honored as Righteous Among the Nations. On August 8, 2007, Yad Vashem named Theodore Criveanu as Righteous Among the Nations, posthumously honoring him for his courageous work to block the deportation of Romanian Jews to Nazi death Camps.