Sometime around mid February I visited and spent the evening with a man, about 82 years old, living in North London, who’s wife had passed away. His family had arrived here four or five generations ago from Russia so he was as British as can be. His wife, however, was from Germany and had lost all her immediate close family in the Holocaust. Her cousin and his mother, through some quirk of fate, had stayed – and survived – in Germany for the whole of the war period. How?
German men and women had hidden and protected him by creating false identities for him and moving him from place to place. These heroic German people placed themselves and their families in clear and present danger, and the risks were immense. No one can doubt the brutality of the Nazi ideology.
My host went on to tell me about other acts of bravery, such as the caretaker of an SS building who kept Jews hidden in the basement. The last place the SS would look! There are many other tales of bravery amongst people who helped Jews, and others evade or escape Nazi persecution, including Muslims who hid Jews in other countries.
After I concluded my visit I went back to my car and sat quietly for some time, as the rain pounded on the roof. I thought about what it takes to be brave.
I really hope all of us never have occasion to find out.