Moral Courage

A Ray of Hope in the Midst of Darkness


Even in the midst of darkness, one may find an unexpected ray of hope. For the Jews of the HKP slave labor camp in Vilna Poland in 1943, that light was provided by the moral courage of Major Karl Plagge, the Wehrmacht commander of their camp. This website is devoted to the story of these beleaguered Jews and the moral courage of their unusual benefactor, who in 2005 was named a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem for his efforts to save Jews in Vilna

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The Search For Major Plagge- The Book


 “Perhaps in other places only a small amount of determination was lacking in order to prevent or decrease the atrocities. I never felt that this needed special courage. It required only the conviction and strength that anyone can draw from the depth of moral feelings that exists in all humans.” —Karl Plagge, in a letter written in 1956 

Read more about Michael Good's gripping, carefully researched book, The Search for Major Plagge

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Plagge Document Repository


Primary source documents and letters related to the story of Major Karl Plagge and the Jews of HKP in Vilna Poland

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Naming the Victims

While this site is was created by the survivors of the HKP camp and their descendants, we recall the 1000 men, women and children who were murdered by the SS in spite of the efforts of Karl Plagge and his men. This section provides a list of prisoners known to have been in the camp and whether they are known to have survived or perished during the Shoah. 

Gallery of the saved

A photo gallery of some of those saved by Karl Plagge at the HKP camp



Write to Michael Good

The Search for Major Plagge