Saturday, August 01, 2009

British Sister who became a Holocaust hero

The British Sister who became a Holocaust hero


Anna Arco uncovers the story of an Englishwoman declared Righteous Among the Nations

31 July 2009

Picture
Sister Agnes Walsh pretended to be Irish to avoid the attentions of the Nazis
Sister Agnes Walsh clucks and chatters like many a charming elderly maiden aunt, constantly urging her visitor to drink his tea. She tells story upon story from her past and wonders whether there will be enough space in the community's beautiful graveyard for her when the time comes.

The video in which she appears was made some time ago - the little religious with the big lively eyes and the plucky spirit has lain in that graveyard for a while now. But three years before her death in 1993 Sister Agnes was declared Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance authority in Israel, and her name was inscribed in its famous wall alongside others who helped save Jews during Nazi persecution. Hers is one of only 14 British names to be included there.

My search for Sister Agnes began in the newsroom of The Catholic Herald. Her name came up because we were working on an article about a special honour for those Britons who helped save Jews during the Holocaust. Sister Agnes was one of the few British Righteous Among the Nations but she had been left off the list for the honour by some oversight and the organisers said that they had too little information about her. She was an enigma for us as well. We knew only that she was based in the town of Cadouin in the Dordogne during the war, and that she was a Daughter of Charity. Nothing more.


Read the rest of this remarkable story .....





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