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  • Lotan Diker

Roddie Edmonds, the anonymous American hero who saved Jews

In the World War II, Few people put their lives on the line for others and even more directly provoked the SS men. Everyone knew that the penalty for rescuing Jews was death, so few risked it.

Among the fighters against the Germans were also American soldiers who came to Europe during the war. Even though they were Americans, the Germans tried to look for Jewish soldiers and send them to labor camps and separate them from their Christian friends. The danger was known because the intelligence advised its soldiers to forge documents and hide diskettes.

Towards the end of the war, a group of a thousand soldiers were captured by the United States. It was 1944 and the Third Reich was about to collapse and yet the Nazis still persecuted and murdered Jews. Those soldiers arrived at a POW camp and were required by a German SS soldier to line up. Hundreds stood in endless lines in front of drawn guns.

A scream from an SS man along with an interpreter demanded that the soldiers come forward. The desire was to separate the Jews and the Christians in order to send them to much worse places. Edmonds stepped forward and demanded that his soldiers do as he did, we are all Jews he said. He was a first sergeant major, a sturdy guy from Tennessee who had been through quite a few battles in which he had participated. All the soldiers stepped forward, the threats of shooting increased. A major named Sigmund walked forward and began to threaten, you can't all be Jews. Edmonds replied that if he shot them all he would soon be tried for war crimes and they as one man would not betray their friends.

After the debate ended, the Germans retreated and asked no more, saving the lives of 200 soldiers. After he returned from the war, he did not tell anyone about the incident. Only after his death, his son Chris, discovered documents and a diary that testify to his father's heroism. He interviewed a large number of witnesses who told about his heroism and thus managed to put together a puzzle many years after his death at the relatively young age of 64.

It was only in 2015 that he became the American soldier who received the greatest compliment, "righteous of the Nations of the World". An honor that he and only he shares with the hundreds of people he saved and they owe him their lives.


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