Last week Tablet published Professor Patrick Henry’s remembrance of Roddie Edmonds, the former Army master sergeant who saved the Jews in his ranks from plans the Nazis had in store for them as prisoners of war. Professor Henry takes the title of his column from Edmonds’s memorable assertion to the unhappy Nazi commandant of the prison camp: “We are all Jews here.” It is a moving and inspirational story.
In anticipation of the holiday today, Professor Henry writes: “On Memorial Day 2021, 76 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, let’s remember the heroics of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, the fifth American Righteous Gentile and the only one to have saved the lives of American Jews.” Edmonds never got around to telling his own story:
Edmonds, who was named “Righteous” in 2015, did not speak much about his experiences. His family only knew that he had been taken prisoner by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge and that he had survived 100 days of captivity before returning home. His son, Baptist Rev. Chris Edmonds, mentioned that when he would ask his father about the war, he often told him only that “Some things were too difficult to talk about.”
Please read the whole thing, and don’t miss the excellent Vimeo video below (also posted here, via reader C.M.). Chris Edmonds tells the story as he pieced it together in the 2019 book No Surrender: A Father, a Son, and an Extraordinary Act of Heroism That Continues to Live on Today.
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