Helmut Kleinicke was posthumously awarded the designation of Righteous Among the Nations at the Israeli Embassy in Berlin on January 14.
The recognition of Righteous Among the Nations is bestowed by Israel’s Holocaust memorial center Yad Vashem to those who are verified to have risked their lives to save Jews during World War II. Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff presented Kleinicke’s Juta Scheffzek which Scheffzek accepted on her father’s behalf.
Kleinicke, a Nazi party member, was only publicly acknowledged in recent years as the savior of perhaps hundreds of Jews at the height of the Holocaust. He is just the 628th German to be given the recognition, and one of the only recipients who was also a member of the Nazi party.
According to the survivor testimony, Kleinicke, who had joined the Nazi party in 1933, took advantage of his position as a senior official in charge of construction in Chrzanow, Upper Silesia, to “claim” Jews as workers. His intervention is estimated to have rescued hundreds of Jews in this way. Eventually the Nazi leadership realized what happening and sent Kleinicke to spend time the rest of the war at a military encampment as punishment.
Read more at Times of Israel.