Library of Congress program on US serviceman, a Righteous Gentile

Free screening of award-winning documentary from Jewish Foundation for the Righteous is part of the Jewish American Heritage Month.

Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds. Credit: Courtesy of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.
Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds. Credit: Courtesy of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.

The Library of Congress will mark Jewish‐American Heritage Month on May 7 with a free screening of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) award‐winning documentary titled “Footsteps of My Father.”

The film explores the heroism of U.S. Army Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, who saved the lives of 200 Jewish American soldiers (POWs) during World War II.

Following the screening, JFR executive vice president Stanlee Stahl will speak about the history of Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews during World War II.

On Dec. 19, 1944, Edmonds was captured by the German Army during the Battle of the Bulge and sent to the Stalag IX-A, a prisoner-of-war camp. As the highest-ranking American soldier in the camp, Edmonds was responsible for the camp’s 1,292 American POWs. The camp’s commandant ordered Edmonds to identify the Jewish soldiers in order to separate them from the other prisoners.

Edmonds refused, and when the German commandant placed his pistol against Edmonds’ head, demanding that the military leader identify the Jewish soldiers, Edmonds responded, “We are all Jews here,” refusing to identify the Jewish soldiers thereby saving their lives.

He survived 100 days of captivity and returned home after the war, but never spoke of his actions. Edmonds passed away in 1985, and only long after did his son, Pastor Chris Edmonds, begin to put together the story of his father’s heroism during the war.

Posthumously, Edmond’s actions have been recognized by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, who conferred him with the designation “Righteous Among the Nations.” To date, Edmonds is the only U.S. soldier to have been recognized by Yad Vashem with this title.

The JFR’s documentary film, “Footsteps of My Father,” recounts the inspirational story of rescue through the lens of Edmonds’s son, as well as several of the American Jewish POWs saved by his father during the war.

The event will take place in the Pickford Auditorium, LM 302, at the Library of Congress starting at 5:30 p.m. Advanced registration is required; click here.

The JFR continues its work of providing monthly financial assistance to aged and needy Righteous Gentiles. Since its founding, the JFR has provided more than $45 million to some 3,600 aged and needy rescuers in 34 countries. Its Holocaust teacher-education program has become a standard for teaching the history of the Holocaust and educating teachers and students about the significance of the righteous as moral and ethical exemplars.

For more information, visit: https://www.jfr.org/.

Contact: Joshua Steinreich, Jsteinreich@scompr.com, 201-688-5647.

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