A German Hero honored by Jews

My Grandfather went to Israel after my Grandmother passed away. He visited a place called the John Kennedy Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial there. There is mention of a non-Jewish man posthumously honored. He is Captain Gustav Schroder and was named Righteous among the Nations at the museum. He was also awarded the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany. Not many have heard of this man.

Yet he was a friend of the Jews in a time when hatred and Anti-Semitism ran rampant.

He was the captain of the MS St. Louis which in 1939 carried over nine hundred Jews to their supposed freedom to Cuba. There they were not permitted to enter and many were sent back to Europe where the concentration camps awaited.

Even Franklin D. Roosevelt did not afford these people sanctuary and my wife’s Grandmother despised him for not doing so.

He, like Oskar Schindler who Spielberg depicted in his movie, took a chance. He took a stand and except for some medals in a drawer or noted on a tablet on a wall he has faded into the history books.

A lot of people did similar actions. It was a time of doing the right thing for many and they did. They should be honored and not forgotten. The movie Ship of Fools was based on this voyage. Being Jewish I never understood the feeling of hate towards my religion. But now I know that there was a group of people who stood up for my race and I will honor them in memory.