Publications

Below is a list of major texts published on the Institute's work.

The Nature of Good & Evil

This volume uses real events and narratives related to good and evil in order to illustrate these two important forms of human behavior. We suggest that processes of love, respect, dignity, caring, compassion and economic and political security for us and others are vitally important. The question remains and has been around for a long time, how do we move humanity from the position or place of doing harm to others to that of intervening on behalf of evil and thereby helping humans and society to unite. There have been a number of studies including our own past publications, which show that people who help others feel better about themselves, and their children feel proud of their parents who have made positive and profound differences to negative human conditions. We know that evil, which we define as the deliberate harming of people in many different ways who are considered by the harm doer as outsiders, will always be around, but the goal is to reduce its intensity and prevent and stop its destructive deeds before they start.

Samuel Oliner
Paragon House, St. Paul, MN, 2011

Do Unto Others: Extrodinary Acts of Ordinary People

This book explores what gives an individual a sense of responsibility, what leads to the development of care and compassion, and what it means to put the welfare of others ahead of one's own. Having been saved from the Nazis at age 12 as the result of one non-Jewish family's altruism, Oliner has made a lifelong study of the nature of altruism. Weaving together moving personal testimony and years of observation, Oliner makes sense of the factors that elicit altruistic behavior-exceptional acts by ordinary people in ordinary times.

Samuel Oliner
Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 2003

Saving the Foresaken: Religious culture and the rescue of Jews in Nazi Europe

Based on data collected by the Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute, and using both quantitative and qualitative analyses, the book examines the cultural contexts in which the very religious, irreligious and moderately religious, as well as Protestants and Catholics, made their decisions to rescue or not to rescue. Although focusing on a particular historical event, a major purpose of the book is to suggest implications for enhancing the possibilities of our group altruism among diverse cultures.

Pearl M. Oliner (with the assistance of Jeanne Wielqus and Mary B. Gruber)
Yale University Press, 2004

Who Shall Live: The Wilhelm Bachner Story

This is the story of an ordinary man who became extraordinary during the Holocaust; the authors have done a marvelous reconstruction of a life. The full story of the Holocaust cannot be told through history books or by mere statistics, awesome as such accounts may be. The "Shoah" is an event about individual people, their suffering and their heroism. This book is about just that and beautifully tells of lives that make us at once sad and proud.

"This fascinating story must be read for it proves that it was possible for humanity to triumph over powerful evil" - Harry James Cargas, Webster University
"The riveting true account of how the "Jewish Schindler" saved the lives of dozens of Polish Jews…" - Elie Wiesel
Samuel Oliner and Kathleen Lee
Academy Publishers, Chicago, 1996

Toward a Caring Society: Ideas into Action

Arguing that a caring society can only emerge from caring institutions, this book proposes eight social processes to promote caring relationships in the family, the workplace, schools and religious institutions. Four of the processes (bonding, empathizing, learning caring norms, and practicing caring behavior) relate to promoting care among participants within social institutions. The remaining four (diversifying, networking, resolving conflicts, and global connectedness) deal with promoting caring relationships toward the broader society. Each concept is elaborated and illustrated by examples taken from existing practices in multiple settings.

Pearl M. Oliner and Samuel P. Oliner
Praeger Publishers, London, 1995

Embracing the Other: Philosophical, Psychological and Historical Perspectives on Altruism

"Embracing the Other" is a collection of original papers presented at a conference in Warsaw, Poland in June 1989, which was jointly sponsored by the Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute, the Polish Academy of Sciences of Warsaw, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. This volume has a multidisciplinary approach addressing altruism, its causes and consequences, and its implications for humanity and a better world.

Pearl M. Oliner (Editor) Co-editors: Samuel P. Oliner, Lawrence Blum, Dennis Krebs, and Zuzanna Smolenska
New York University Press, 1993, 1995

Restless Memories: Recollections of the Holocaust Years

"Words fail me to adequately express my reaction to what is perhaps the most engrossing book I have ever read on this painful subject." - William B. Helmreich, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York

"I read it in one sitting. It is an extremely moving drama." - Harry James Cargas, Department of Literature and Language, Webster College

Samuel P. Oliner
Judah L. Magnes Museum, Berkeley, California, 1979

The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe

The result of six years of study, "The Altruistic Personality" explores the experiences and motivations of those uncommon individuals who aided Jews at a time of extreme danger. By comparing and contrasting rescuers and bystanders, it was discovered that those who intervened were distinguished by characteristics such as empathy and a sense of connection to others. A major review called "The Altruistic Personality" the definitive study of rescuers. Stories from the book have been dramatized by playwright Wilfried Harrison in Rescuers Speaking, which has been performed both in the U.S. and abroad, as well as produced by the BBC. Published by Harword

Samuel P. Oliner and Pearl M. Oliner
The Free Press, Macmillan, 1988, 1992

Narrow Escapes: Childhood Memories of the Holocaust and Their Legacy

"Sam 'Schmulek' Oliner was one of the fortunate Polish Jews who found refuge in the home of Polish peasants... His well-written memoir reminds us that the Holocaust sometimes brought out the best, as well as the worst, in people." - Lawrence Baron, Abraham Nasatir Professor of Modern Jewish History. San Diego State University

"Narrow Escapes defines Samuel Oliner's life in more ways than one.Not only is he a Holocaust survivor who barely eluded the genocidal 'Final Solution'... he is also a groundbreaking Holocaust scholar who has focused attention on the rescuers... who risked their lives to give Jews life-saving narrow escapes during those dark times. Oliner's significant epilogue in this new edition both updates his story and helps to show how his narrow escapes lead to a remarkable career." - John K. Roth, Pitzer Professor of Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College

Samuel P. Oliner
Paragon Press, St. Paul, MN, 2000