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Celebrity

Mel Gibson Has Been Quietly Working to Help Holocaust Survivors

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Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Mel Gibson is doing a mitzvah.

The Hacksaw Ridge director, who made headlines back in 2006 for going on a drunken anti-semitic rant, has been quietly working with a charity that helps Holocaust survivors.

Zane Buzby, the founder of the Survivor Mitzvah Project, recently told Extra that her charity helps “bring emergency aid to Holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe who are in desperate need of food, medicine, heat and shelter and we always bring them friendship and hope.”

She adds, “The goal of the Survivor Mitzvah Project is to make sure that no Holocaust survivor who has endured the darkest days of human history will ever be hungry again or suffer or be forgotten or neglected.”

Gibson quickly responded to the mission of the Survivor Mitzvah Project after the charity approached him to see if he’d like to get involved.

“He has been an avid supporter of this organization for a few years now and doesn’t just write a check,” says a source.

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“He has been to the office and personally learned about the mission and the people helped on an ongoing basis. He’s also helped raise additional funds by getting others involved. Mel feels great compassion for what this organization does. And he doesn’t publicly promote most of his philanthropy but quietly helps out.”

As for the director’s contribution, Buzby said, “Mel Gibson is helping Holocaust survivors in eight countries, it’s remarkable. I have a great respect for people who turn their lives around, and I think that everyone makes mistakes in life, and I think the real proof of what kind of human being you are is what you do with that mistake. He’s educated himself. He’s done philanthropic work now, and I think that actions speak very loudly … and his actions have helped a lot of people.”

Gibson has enjoyed a banner year, making appearances at award shows where his film received a bevy of nominations. Sources previously told PEOPLE that he has worked hard to turn his life around.

“Mel has showed some remorse over his past behavior,” said a Gibson source. “Mel wants to be remembered for his work. He has worked on his issues and has definitely shaped up.”