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Hans Calmeyer Righteous Gentile 1903-1972

“The Dutch Schindler”

 Lawyer for Life

Calmeyer's Legacy

Why Save a Life ?

“He who Saves a Life, Saves the Universe ...”       Hebrew Talmud

Calmeyer’s Legacy is a legacy of Law used for its best permitted qualities of furthering and protecting the human race, and resistance to totalitarian use of Law in its most inhuman forms. Calmeyer was ultimately fighting inhumanity. He was a lawyer who saved some lives, quite a few in fact, representing a “Culture of Life” in the midst of a philosophy of conquest and hate that became one of the most evil “Cultures of Death.” Warning: some of those Cultures of Death are still metastatizing among us.

When Human Law is Not Enough, an Advocate is Needed

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Hans Georg Calmeyer was appointed in the Netherlands to a seemingly low-level administrative post. Yet it turned out he was the only individual  in the entire Third Reich other than Adolf Hitler, with the power to declare a Jew free through the analysis of the individual’s heritage. Hitler could exonerate anyone, and did so from Berlin in the early years of the war, but soon had no time or inclination to continue. No other legal ministry was so tasked, and elsewhere Jews had no such advocate or potential exemption from the concentration camps and ultimate destruction.                                                                                                          Mordecai Paldiel’s research for Yad Vashem

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Why does one courageous lawyer save 3000 Lives ?

This website is dedicated to the exposition of the life and deeds and moral context of an exceptional profile in courage: a German lawyer who worked, at risk of his own life, within the Nazi legal system to save the lives of some 3000 Jews who would otherwise have been sent to the Nazi death camps. Named the “Dutch Schindler” and honored as a “Righteous Gentile”... this man is nevertheless hardly known in the English-speaking world. Such recognition is of course in itself unimportant. Nor is it important in itself to engage the biographical and historical perspective, simply to honor one individual. But that historical perspective is essential in our appreciation of courageously and even heroically facing the many threats of today. The Calmeyer Foundation sees these threats as existential for Judeo-Christian Civilization, not just for Jews in Israel facing a potential second Holocaust from weapons of mass destruction centered on Tel Aviv. These dangers are directly linked, and they are becoming more apparent every day. Why tell a story of a man’s deeds and about history, if not to relate this to our own lives? That then is a legacy.

The key is for us to learn historical lessons for today. What do we do in the face of evil ? Why do we bother to do anything?


Hans Calmeyer, a gentile, a German, a somewhat elite and learned lawyer, saved 3000 Jews from within a legal system gone Nazi, with no recognition or reward in his lifetime, in fact the opposite: secrecy and silence. Where did Calmeyer get his sense of righteousness and moral commitment to save lives?  As his legacy, this site explores the various elements of what a righteous man like Hans Calmeyer regarded as proper responses to tyranny. As we see or face similar threats of racial or governmental or cultural/religious oppression, what can any of us do? This site is not small, just as Calmeyer’s deeds were not small, and it is complicated by complex moral issues of our time. Hopefully it will educate and be a proper Legacy to all readers.

Just because Something is Legal does not make it Right to do

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Calmeyer’s Legacy – A Song to Be

Hans Calmeyer died at the age of 69 in 1972, 30 years after leading a successful clandestine conspiracy that saved more than 3000 Jews from the Holocaust.

     Calmeyer’s Song (in his own words)

           He wanted much, he wished for much.

           Now burnt up, ashes in a hush,

           ‘ere reaching any goal as such,

           what harm that his own passion’s touch

           on which he thrived, would leap along

           over to you, to you the throng,

           as candles glow, only so long…

           the note still sounds that in him longed

           a Song to be”

          … Calmeyer’s self-chosen epitaph poem, now on his gravestone in Osnabrück, Germany


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The Yad Vashem Medal for a Righteous Gentile in Wooden Case from the Yad Vashem Garden of the Trees of Life *