(This article was originally published by The Times of Israel on Jan. 25, 2015)
We have been taught and hoped that with education the chances of history repeating itself may be reduced. Watching the increase of anti-semitism globally and knowing the history of the Jewish people, there is an unspoken fear amongst many that there is an increased possibility of another pogrom.
Recently I asked the question on a social media site: “If there was another holocaust or pogrom against Jews, how many of non-Jews would hide their Jewish friends in hope of saving their lives –– even if it meant you and or your family could also be killed?”
I was astonished at the responses I received. At the request of those who responded and their desire to remain anonymous, I have given the responders pseudonyms.
Chris Curtis stated: “I live in the southwest, surrounded by desert. We could hide a lot of people out here.”
Marvin Field shared: “I’m not Jewish, but I would hide any and every Jew to the best of my ability, because if I sat by and did nothing while such a systematic crime against human decency took place, I wouldn’t and couldn’t be able to live with myself.”
Lynne Smith believes things would be different today then they were in the last century. “Jews wouldn’t go down without a fight. And if it happened I imagine I would be fighting side by side with the Jews not just hiding them. The Jews have become a tough as nails people. Probably out of necessity.”
Karrie Rosa voiced her concerns: “I don’t think anyone really knows how they would respond to these types of situations, until they actually happen. We can all share what we hope we would do, yet when there’s a gun aimed at a loved ones head and the rest of your family is sitting right in front of you, you never know how much of a righteous gentile you will be.”
Jeff Jones is under the impressing that most American Jews are naive like he was. “Most Jews living in the US believe they are safe, that something like what happened in Nazi Germany could never happen here . . . They think their friends and neighbors would never stand for it. After spending three years in Israel and returning to his hometown, he was shocked at things his non-Jewish friends would say to him. Prior to living abroad, he was unaware of how many of his non-Jewish friends would say anti-semitic things. Upon returning he realized they had always been stereotyping Jews.” He said it was “a huge wake-up call” for him. When he asked his non-Jewish friends if they would hide him, and they said yes –– he doubted he could trust them.
All I can say is what everyone shared is a lot of food for thought.