Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

April 11, 2005

The Nazi who Saved Jews

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:30 pm

I’m simultaneously impressed by this story, and depressed there weren’t more like him.

A member of the Nazi Party who worked to bring the party to power in the years preceding World War II, Karl Plagge was drafted into the German army, where he witnessed the genocide of the Jews.

But then his life took a sudden turn, which set him forever apart from his co-officers, who were either complicit in or, at best, turned a blind eye to the mass extermination of European Jewry.

Stationed in Vilna from June 1941 to June 1944, Major Plagge, an engineer by training, was put in charge of a repair facility for military vehicles, a forced labor camp that was known among the Lithuanian Jewish community as a relative safe haven from the Nazi extermination.

One week before the 1943 evacuation of the Vilna Ghetto, Plagge took 1,000 Jews to work at the camp he commanded.

Though the plant was nominally meant for qualified engineers and mechanics, Plagge, like Oskar Schindler, found jobs for many non-qualified workers there, to save them from deportation.

Read the whole thing.

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