When we think of the Holocaust, we tend to focus on the number dead. But there were a surprising number of resisters. They were brave individuals who normally get forgotten by the history books. It’s our duty to make sure they’re remembered.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Oskar Schlindler and Raoul Wallenberg. Their cases have been well publicized. But have you every heard of Otto Weidt?
He is another Holocaust hero, and his work is commemorated in a museum on Rosenthaler Strasse 39 in Berlin.
Otto made brushes and brooms in the early 1940s. The exceptional part is he employed mainly deaf and blind Jews in his workshop. When things got dangerous for Jews, he did what he could to protect them. He had some failures, but he also had quite a bit of success.
“This museum tells the story of Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind. During the Second World War, the brush manufacturer Otto Weidt employed mainly blind and deaf Jews. They produced brooms and brushes. Various life stories testify to Otto Weidt’s efforts to protect his Jewish employees from persecution and deportation. As danger grew, he searched for hiding places for some of them. One of these hideouts was in the rooms that are now part of this museum.”
There is a good summary of his life at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Weidt
A friend recently sent me an email on Irena Sender. Irena worked in the Warsaw ghetto as a plumbing & sewer specialist during World War II, and was credited with smuggling out 2500 children and infants. Despite being eventually caught and severely beaten, she survived the war. There has been a campaign to have her awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/sendler.asp
Recently I saw a Facebook post on Sir Nicholas Winton. He was a British man credited with rescuing 669 children from the death camps and having them smuggled to Great Britain. His story was posted on Facebook in honor of his 105th birthday.
Isn’t it amazing how much difference one person can make?