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Vimeo Gold: A Hero You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

And if not, it’s time you did

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American POW’s on Line for Food
American POW’s on Line for Food

World War II was a sweeping historical epoch and the stories from those years are still being uncovered. It was a time of unparalleled evil and astonishing sacrifice by the great and the small.

Most people now know about Oskar Schindler, the German businessman who saved so many Jews from death and Desmond Doss, the conscientious objector who saved so many soldiers in the Pacific and especially during the Battle of Okinawa. You may even have heard of Albert Goering, Herman Goering’s brother, who openly defied the Nazis and saved lives. You may even have heard of Sophie Scholl, an incredible brave young woman who dared to speak out against the Nazis and paid with her life.

But we’d guess most people have not heard of Roddie Edmonds, which would be a shame.

Edmonds was a Master Sergeant from Knoxville who was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and sent to a POW camp.

The Nazi commander ordered him to have all Jewish soldiers line up separately at roll call but Edmonds was not having it: he told his men that everyone would be a Jew and they would stand together.

The commander put a Luger to his forehead and told him he would die if he didn’t obey. Edmonds still refused and told the man that the war was nearly over, many people were watching, and that if he killed him he would be hunted down as a war criminal.

And the man backed down.

Later, when the Allies drew near, the Nazis wanted to move the prisoners but Edmonds again refused, saying his men were too weak to do that and they’d be staying - and the commander backed down again, telling him “the camp is yours” before leaving.

And he never told anyone what he had done.

His men remembered though and Edmonds was named Righteous Among Nations, the highest honor Israel gives non-Jews who helped to save Jewish lives during the war. His son never knew any of this and made a short film to share it.

This is an incredibly eloquent piece we hope you will watch and that it will remind you that evil is never as far away as you think.