Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quakers and Nazis

I received an email with a link to a cute video with a serious message made by some school kids. The video reenacts the following story (which comes from the book Quakers & Nazis: Inner Light In Outer Darkness by Prof. Hans A. Schmitt):

"In 1938, Rufus Jones, George Walton, and Robert Yarnall followed a shared leading to Germany to meet with the German SS about releasing Jews. Because Friends [Quakers] had initiated a massive feeding program in Germany after World War I, they had reason to hope the Germans would believe in their good will.

The three men said they had come "to inquire in the most friendly manner whether there is anything we can do to promote life ... and to relieve suffering ..." After hearing their requests, the SS officers left the room to confer. The three Americans bowed their heads "and entered upon a time of deep, quiet meditation and prayer" while they waited for the officers to return. Later they learned that their room had been bugged and their "silence" had confirmed the earnestness of their mission.

They were then told that they could proceed with their work of Jewish evacuation and that other Quaker representatives would be permitted to travel unhindered throughout Germany and Austria to implement their purpose. In the U.S., the entire mission was seen as a breakthrough. ... The Quakers received a grant to finance the work of a new team of Quakers to be sent to Germany, and plans were drafted for a camp to house refugees receiving visas to the U.S. But the plans were never realized because American politicians decided not to accept the refugees."


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