Last German ‘righteous among nations’ dies at 98, risked life to save Jew

One of Steinl’s supposedly Polish workers confided in her that she was actually Jewish. Steinl made every effort to find her a hiding place.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Gertrud Steinl, Germany’s last surviving Yad Vashem honoree, died on March 16 in Nuremberg, the German daily Nürnberger Nachrichten reports.

Born in 1922, she died on the eve of her 98th birthday.

On September 4, 1979, the Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center recognized Steinl as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

The honor is given to non-Jews who took great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust.

According to Yad Vashem, Steinl worked as an overseer at the Carpathian Oil Company in the Polish town of Stryj in 1943.

One of Steinl’s supposedly Polish workers confided in her that she was actually Jewish. Steinl became very concerned and made every effort to find her a hiding place.

She sent the worker, Sarah Fröhlich (who later became Sarah Shlomi), to her parents in Graslitz in what is now the Czech Republic, but she did not tell them that Sarah was a Jew.

Sarah lived with them until the end of the World War II, working at first as a housemaid and later at an ammunition factory.

“With her selfless commitment, Gertrud Steinl is a role model for all of us. The city of Nuremberg will always honor her,” Mayor Ulrich Maly wrote in her memorial.

In 2019, Germany awarded Steinl the Federal Cross of Merit for her actions during the Nazi era.

“Her bravery, her courageous commitment to her convictions, and her selflessness are examples for our own actions,” said Anna Stolz, State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, as she handed Steinl the award.

When the State of Israel established the Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center in 1953, one of the center’s duties was to commemorate Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews.

Yad Vashem has so far recognized 27,362 people as Righteous Among the Nations, 627 from Germany.