external image 300px-Zegota(Rada_Pomocy_Zydom)1946.jpg

Zegota was an organisation which assisted Jews during the time of the Holocaust. 'Zegota was a code name for 'Council to Aid Jews'. Zegota was an underground organisation set up in German-occupied Poland from 1942-1945. Zegotas main purpose was to asisst the country's Jews and to find places of safety for them within Poland. Poland was the only country in Europe throughout the war in which such a dedicated underground organisation existed.

Zegota gave safety to around 4,000 Jews by providing them with food, medical care, relief money and false identification documents for those hiding on the 'Aryan' Side of German-occupied Poland. Zegota also Organised help in the form of money, food and medicines to Jews in forced labour camps across Poland. Because the Jews preferred to be well-concealed within their higing, Zegota often had trouble finding them. Therefore, it did not grow on a larger scale until 1943. As well as providing people with the aid they needed, Zegota also layed a large part in placing Jewish children with foster families, public orphanages and church institutions. It was a requirement that the foster families be told that the children were Jewish so that the were able to take the appropriate precautions. Especially with the males as they were circumcised, unlike that of the Polish. Zegota sometimes paid for the care of the children.

As well as the obvious difficulties of hiding people in the cramped conditions and the constant surveillance of German police officers, an automatic death penalty was imposed on any Polish Christian and their families if they were caught helping Jews. Zegota could not stop the murder campaigns of the Nazi government. Nor could they intercept. However, they aimed to help every Jew who escaped the ghettos. Zegota provided protection for the Jews, although it was not guaranteed security. Zegota was able to rescue Jews whom were otherwise destined for death.



Bibliography:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Zegota.html
http://www.holocaustforgotten.com/zegota.htm
http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/revolt/zegota.html
http://www.projectinposterum.org/docs/zegota.htm