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by Jonathan Kalmus, Jewish Chronicle
January 6, 2011

Israeli Holocaust museum Yad Vashem and a British university are to give the first recognition to British Quakers who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. The initative comes after an eight-year campaign by a 79-year-old Jewish refugee.

Austrian-born Peter Kurer, from Manchester, had been struggling to convince Yad Vashem to recognise the historic rescue. Members of the minority Christian group paid an estimated £350,000 (£17.5m at today's rates) in guarantees to the British government to accept around 6,000 Jews into the UK. Quakers then housed and found jobs for them, including Mr Kurer and eight of his family members evacuated from Vienna in 1938.

The episode has never been fully documented by historians, but Mr Kurer spent eight years collating survivors' stories into an academic paper supported by five British historians. In a statement, Yad Vashem says the paper will now join 130 millions pages of historical documents in its library, where it will be catalogued and made available to researchers. The campaign has also prompted the Centre for German-Jewish Studies at Sussex University to conduct a study of the rescue effort.