Invisible Heroes of the Resistance

Invisible Heroes of the Resistance

Credit:(Photo: Yad Vashem)

Hans and Lisa Fittko

Hans Fittko was born into a blue-collar Christian family in Brandenburg, Germany in 1903. He dropped out of school at the age of 12, but educated himself and became a renowned journalist. However in 1933, he was threatened with arrest by the Nazis and fled to Prague. There, he met Lisa Eckstein, a Ukrainian Jew who had also fled Germany, and who acted as an underground resistance fighter against Hitler’s regime.

Hans and Lisa were married in Prague, but soon were forced to flee, first settling in Paris and then moving south after the Nazi occupation. On their way to safety in Lisbon, the Fittkos met Varian Fry, a journalist from the U.S. whose rescue network would save thousands during the Holocaust and who was the first American named Righteous Among the Nations. Fry asked his new friends for help. Despite the risk it posed to them, Hans and Lisa agreed to help Fry and his refugees.

From a French mayor, Lisa learned of an old smuggling path across the Pyrenees. And so, starting in September 1940, Hans and Lisa led countless victims of Nazi persecution along this secret route, known as “Route F.”

Over the next year, the Fittkos smuggled many people to safety, before escaping the Nazis themselves in the fall of 1941. Hans and Lisa later immigrated to the U.S., where Lisa lived to the age of 95, also writing two memoirs of her exploits. Hans, being a Gentile, was named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2000. Both are remembered as invisible heroes of the resistance, for the selflessness and bravery they showed in the face of evil.

Tags: Advocates and Allies

More From Fellowship Blog

Fellowship Blog

On the Frontlines of Faith Quiz

On January 20th, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s. But did you know that the Jewish community was standing on the frontlines of faith along with Dr. King? Test your knowledge today.

Fellowship Blog

Feed Your Soul in Safed

This week, our friends at ISRAEL21c tell us more about Safed — one of Judaism's Holy Cities — and share a highlight of all the culture, art, and history that you can witness there.

Fellowship Blog

An End to Childhood

A Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust, Miriam Akavia went on to make aliyah, write about her life, and build bridges that helped fight anti-Semitism.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.