The Righteous Among the Nations Talk

Last week was Holocaust remembrance week, and OU hosted a number of events throughout the week to educate people on the Holocaust. There were several interesting talks and films offered, but unfortunately my class and homework schedule conflicted with most of them. I did manage to make it to one talk about the Righteous Among the Nations, which is a topic I didn’t know hardly anything about. I’m still no expert, but now I know more than I did before!
The Righteous Among the Nations is a title given out by the state of Israel that honors people who risked their own lives to help Jews and other persecuted people during the Holocaust. The talk consisted of going over some examples of what exactly the title means (It’s a title that is not given out lightly- only a few extraordinary people have been given the honor), as well as some examples of people who have received this honor. One such example was Oscar Schindler, who saved thousands of people by employing them in his factory. (OU also screened Shindler’s List for Holocaust Remembrance Week, which I have yet to see.)
Probably the most interesting point in the talk was the diversity of the Righteous Among the Nations. They come from 38 different countries, some of which are nowhere near Germany, or even Europe. At a time when a lot of the world, including the U.S., turned a blind eye to what was happening (I’m not going to get into whether or not outside powers knew the extent of what was happening, because I honestly don’t know how much the U.S. or other countries knew. But I do think it was pretty clear that something wrong was going on, and more could have been done to stop it), these people stepped up and did what they could to help people. I think the important takeaway from this is that 1. Sometimes the right thing isn’t the thing that most people are doing, or the easiest thing, and 2. Even things that are far away are relevant. Just because something is happening on a different continent, doesn’t mean we don’t have to care about it, and doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it either. I hope to keep that in mind.

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