Friday, October 27, 2006

One more story

One more story about ethical behavior before I get off the subject, because I think you could go crazy if you spent too much time trying to figure these things out.

Most of the ethical decisions we make are very small scale. The larger ones don't up very often, and few of us ever face the really, really big ones. I'm thinking now in particular about the mother of a college friend. She was still a student in Holland when the Nazis arrived. One day she watched Germans carelessly tossing Jewish children into the back of a truck for deportation, and she was changed by that experience. She felt she could no longer stand by and do nothing; she had to get involved She began working with others to protect Jews. She helped move many Jewish children to safety, and she hid a Jewish man and his three children for nearly three years. One night they were all discovered by a Dutch policeman. She reached for a hidden gun and shot him dead; others helped get rid of his body.

What would I have done. I've given that a lot of thought since I first heard this story. I hope I would have become involved. I hope I would have been courageous enough to risk my own life if that were necessary to do the right thing. But what about shooting the policeman? That I don't know about it. If it were just me, maybe I would have been willing to lose my own life for the principle of nonviolence, but what about the others? What about the children?

And how could you ever go back to normal everyday living after an experience like that? This woman went on to marry, moved to the United States, raised three boys in Westchester County, and is now living in Vermont. Amazing.


At 8:37 AM, Blogger Nancy said...

Wow...amazing story. I hope that I would be that courageous, but one really never knows until one is faced with such a situation. So, I must admit that I also hope I never find out whether or not I'd be that courageous.


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