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About this commemoration
During the Second World War, thousands of Christians and persons
of faith made valiant sacrifices, often at the risk of their own lives, to
save Jews from the Holocaust. These “righteous gentiles” are honored
for courageous action in the face of Hitler’s reign of terror.
Raoul Wallenberg (Lutheran) was a Swedish humanitarian and diplomat
whose great resourcefulness saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during
the Nazi occupation. He issued them Swedish passports so that they
could escape and housed many in Swedish government property in
Budapest, thereby protecting them on the basis of diplomatic immunity.
Hiram Bingham IV (Episcopalian) was an American diplomat in
France during the early years of the Nazi occupation. He violated
State Department protocol by arranging escape routes for persecuted
Jews and often provided the most wanted with safe haven in his own
home. When transferred to Argentina, he devoted considerable effort
to tracking the movements of Nazi war criminals.
Carl Lutz (Evangelical) was a Swiss diplomat in Budapest who also
worked to save the lives of many Hungarian Jews. Although deeply
involved in this endeavor at every level, he is most remembered for
negotiating with the Nazis for safe passage from Hungary to Palestine
for more than 10,000 Jews.
Chiune Sugihara (Orthodox), while serving as Japanese Consul in
Lithuania, rescued thousands of Jews by providing them with travel
credentials so they could escape. In doing so, he violated official
diplomatic policy and was removed from his country’s foreign service.
He lived the rest of his life in disgrace.
André Trocmé (Reformed) and his wife, Magda, were French
Christians who saved the lives of several thousand Jews in France
during the Nazi occupation. He was the pastor in Le Chambon-sur-
Lignon and, together with people in neighboring communities, he
created a safe haven for many refugees from the Nazi terror.
These faithful servants, together with more than 23,000 others verified to
date, are honored at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial overlooking
Jerusalem, and celebrated there as “the righteous among the nations.”
I 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 liveth and reigneth, one God, now
and for ever. Amen.
II 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.
Preface of a Saint (2)
Text from Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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