Preface of a Saint (2)
PRAYER (traditional language)
God of the Covenant and Lord of the Exodus, who by the hand of Moses didst
deliver thy chosen people from cruel enslavement: We offer thanks for
Raoul Wallenberg and all those Righteous Gentiles who with compassion,
courage and resourcefulness rescued thousands of thy children from certain
death. Grant that, in the power of thy Spirit, we may protect the innocent
of every race and creed in the Name of Jesus Christ, strong Deliverer
of us all; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one
God, now and for ever. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
God of the Covenant and Lord of the Exodus, by the hand of Moses you delivered
your chosen people from cruel enslavement: We give you thanks for Raoul
Wallenberg and all those Righteous Gentiles who with compassion, courage
and resourcefulness rescued thousands of your children from certain death.
Grant that, in the power of your Spirit, we may protect the innocent of
every race and creed in the Name of Jesus Christ, strong Deliverer of
us all; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now
and for ever. Amen.
Thei commemoration adopted provisionally at General Convention 2009
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Last updated: 10 July 2010
“THE RIGHTEOUS GENTILES”
Although the phrase "Righteous Gentiles" has become a general
term for any non-Jew who risked their life to save Jews during the Holocaust,
it here appears to apply specifically to: Raoul Wallenberg [Swedish, d.
1947] Hiram Bingham IV [d. 1988, American]; Karl Lutz [d. 1975, Swiss];
C. Sujihara [Japanese]; and Andre Trocme [French].
Wallenberg (August 4, 1912 – July 17, 1947?) was a Swedish
humanitarian who worked in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II to rescue
Jews from the Holocaust. Between July and December 1944, he issued protective
passports and housed Jews, saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives.
On January 17, 1945, he was arrested in Budapest by the Soviets after
they wrested control of the city from the Germans, and was reported to
have been executed while a prisoner at Lubyanka Prison, although this
is not entirely certain.
Wallenberg has been honored numerous times. He is an honorary citizen
of the United States, Canada, Hungary and Israel. Israel has also designated
Wallenberg one of the Righteous among the Nations. Monuments have been
dedicated to him, and streets have been named after him throughout the
— more at Wikipedia
"Harry" Bingham IV (July 17, 1903 – January 12,
1988) was an American diplomat. He served as a Vice-Consul in Marseille,
France, during World War II, and helped over 2,500 Jews to flee from France
as Nazi forces advanced.
In 1939, Bingham was posted to the US Consulate in Marseille, where he,
together with another vice-consul named Myles Standish, was in charge
of issuing entry visas to the USA.
On June 10, 1940, Adolf Hitler's forces invaded France and the French
government fell. Several influential Europeans tried to lobby the American
government to issue visas so that German and Jewish refugees could freely
leave France and escape persecution.
Anxious to limit immigration to the United States and to maintain good
relations with the Vichy government, the State Department actively discouraged
diplomats from helping refugees. However, Bingham cooperated in issuing
visas and helping refugees escape France. Hiram Bingham gave about 2,000
visas, most of them to well-known personalities, speaking English, including
Max Ernst, André Breton, Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, Lion Feuchtwanger
and Nobel prize winner Otto Meyerhof.
— more at Wikipedia
Lutz (b. Walzenhausen, 30 March 1895; d. Berne, 12 February 1975)
was the Swiss Vice-Consul in Budapest, Hungary from 1942 until the end of
World War II. He helped save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews from
deportation to Nazi Extermination camps during the Holocaust.
Lutz immigrated at the age of 18 to the United States, where he was to
remain for more than 20 years. Lutz’s sojourn in the United States
ended with his assignment as vice-consul to the Swiss Consulate General
in Jaffa, in what was then Palestine.
Appointed in 1942 as Swiss vice-consul in Budapest, Hungary, Lutz soon
began cooperating with the Jewish Agency for Palestine, issuing Swiss
safe-conduct documents enabling Jewish children to emigrate.
Once the Nazis took over Budapest in 1944 and began deporting Jews to
the death camps, Lutz negotiated a special deal with the Hungarian government
and the Nazis: he had permission to issue protective letters to 8,000
Hungarian Jews for emigration to Palestine. Lutz then deliberately misinterpreted
his permission for 8,000 as applying to families rather than individuals,
and proceeded to issue tens of thousands of additional protective letters,
all of them bearing a number between one and 8,000. He also set up some
76 safe houses around Budapest, declaring them annexes of the Swiss legation.
Among the safe houses was the now well-known "Glass House" (Üvegház)
at Vadász Street 29. About 3,000 Jews found refuge at the Glass
House and in a neighboring building.
— more at Wikipedia
Sugihara (1 January 1900 – 31 July 1986) was a Japanese
diplomat, serving as Vice Consul for the Japanese Empire in Lithuania.
During World War II, he helped several thousand Jews leave the country
by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees so that they could travel
to Japan. Most of the Jews who escaped were refugees from German-occupied
Poland or residents of Lithuania. Sugihara wrote travel visas that facilitated
the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking
his career and his family's life.
When asked why he did it, he responded:
“You want to know about my motivation, don't you?
Well. It is the kind of sentiments anyone would have when he actually
sees refugees face to face, begging with tears in their eyes. He just
cannot help but sympathize with them. Among the refugees were the elderly
and women. They were so desperate that they went so far as to kiss my
shoes, Yes, I actually witnessed such scenes with my own eyes. Also, I
felt at that time, that the Japanese government did not have any uniform
opinion in Tokyo. Some Japanese military leaders were just scared because
of the pressure from the Nazis; while other officials in the Home Ministry
were simply ambivalent.
People in Tokyo were not united. I felt it silly to deal
with them. So, I made up my mind not to wait for their reply. I knew that
somebody would surely complain about me in the future. But, I myself thought
this would be the right thing to do. There is nothing wrong in saving
many people's lives .... The spirit of humanity, philanthropy ... neighborly
friendship ... with this spirit, I ventured to do what I did, confronting
this most difficult situation ---and because of this reason, I went ahead
with redoubled courage. ”
When asked why he risked his career to save other people, he quoted an
old samurai saying: "Even a hunter cannot kill a bird which flies
to him for refuge."
— more at Wikipedia
Trocmé ( April 7, 1901 – June 5, 1971) and his wife
Magda (née Grilli di Cortona, November 2, 1901,
Florence, Italy - Oct. 10, 1996) are a couple of French Righteous Among
the Nations. For 15 years, André served as a pastor in the town
of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon on the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon in South-Central
France. He had been sent to this rather remote parish because of his pacifist
positions which were not well received by the French Protestant Church.
In his preaching he spoke out against discrimination as the Nazis were
gaining power in neighboring Germany and urged his Protestant Huguenot
congregation to hide Jewish refugees from the Holocaust of the Second
In 1938, André Trocmé and Reverend Edouard Theis founded
the Collège Lycée International Cévenol in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon,
France.Its initial purpose was to prepare local country youngsters to
enter the university. When the refugees arrived, it also took in many
Jewish young people wishing to continue their secondary education.
When France fell to Nazi Germany, the mission to resist the Nazis became
increasingly important. Following the establishment of the Vichy France
regime during the occupation, Trocmé and his church members helped
their town develop ways of resisting the dominant evil they faced. Together
they established first one, and then a number of "safe houses"
where Jewish and other refugees seeking to escape the Nazis could hide.
Many refugees were helped to escape to Switzerland following an underground
railfoad network. Between 1940 and 1944 when World War II ended in Europe,
it is estimated that about 3500 Jewish refugees including many children
were saved by the small village of Le Chambon and the communities on the
surrounding plateau because the people refused to give in to what they
considered to be the illegitimate legal, military, and police power of
— more at Wikipedia