December 12, 2015

THIS IS NICE: WWII U.S. vet honored for saving 200 Jews.

Roddie Edmonds is the first U.S. soldier to receive Israel’s Righteous Among the Nations honor, 70 years after he risked his life to save 200 Jews. The native of Knoxville, Tenn., was captured in the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944 and held at German POW camp Staleg IXA, according to Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. When the Nazis ordered all Jewish-American POWs to step forward on Jan. 27, 1945, Edmonds — the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer at the camp — ordered 1,000 U.S. soldiers to do so, regardless of their religion, per the AP. “They cannot all be Jews,” a German commander said, per Yad Vashem. “We are all Jews here,” Edmonds replied, adding soldiers didn’t need to divulge their religion under the Geneva Conventions. The commander then put a gun to Edmonds’s head.

He said, “‘I’ll give you one more chance. Have the Jewish men step forward or I will shoot you on the spot,'” Edmonds’s son, the Rev. Chris Edmonds, tells NPR. “They said my dad paused, and said, ‘If you shoot, you’ll have to shoot us all.'” The commander yielded.

Nice story.

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