ADL Honors Greek Rescuer Who Saved Jews During the Holocaust
New York, NY, November 7, 2003…The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recognized the courage and bravery of Dr. Kostas Nikolaou by honoring his memory with the ADL Courage to Care Award for his actions 60 years ago, when he defied the Nazis and risked his safety to save the life of his friend, Yitzhak Cohen and his family.
The award was presented by Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, during the League's 90th annual National Commission Meeting in New York City. Mr. Foxman's own life was saved during the Holocaust when his Catholic nanny had him baptized and hid him in Poland throughout the war.
"Dr. Nikolaou's story can restore one's faith in humanity," Mr. Foxman said. "In the face of unspeakable evil, rescuers, like Dr. Nikolaou, put their life and the lives of their families in jeopardy to help friends and strangers escape the darkest period in European history. 'Courage to care' doesn't begin to describe what Dr. Nikolaou and others did. They represent what good people can accomplish even in the direst circumstances."
On Yom Kippur 1943, as the Germans began preparing Athenian Jews for deportation, Dr. Nikolaou asked Yitzhak Cohen, his boyhood friend, how he could help him and his family. Dr. Nikolaou hid the Cohens in the mountains until he could arrange for transportation out of Greece. Dr. Nikolaou supplied the Cohens with non-Jewish identity papers, and arranged a ship to take them and six others into Turkey and onto Palestine. With Dr. Nikolaou's help, one sister and the family's elderly father were able to stay in Greece with the forged identity papers. In addition to the Cohen family, Dr. Nikolaou rescued ten other people.
Dr. Kostas Nikolaou passed away in 2001. His son, Dr. Pentelis-Vasileios Nikolaou, accepted the award on his father's behalf.
In 1987, ADL initiated a unique award to honor rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust era. The ADL Courage to Care Award is a plaque with bas-reliefs depicting the backdrop to the rescuers' exceptional deeds – the Nazi's persecution, deportation and murder of millions of Jews. Past recipients of the ADL Courage to Care Award include: Jan and Miep Gies, Aristides De Sousa Mendes, Jan Karski, Selahattin Ulkumen, Chiune Sugihara, the French town of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, Emilie and Oskar Schindler, The Partisans of Riccione, Italy and Johanna Vos.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.