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The Good Germans

I recently had the privilege of meeting with more than 25 survivors of Auschwitz.  We had breakfast together.  I asked them, “After what you went through at the hands of the Nazis, how do you react when you hear someone with a German accent?” One of the men answered, “I was just a boy when they put me, along with my family, into a cattle car in a city in France and started us on the long journey to Auschwitz.  We had no water and we had no food, but each night the train would stop and sit still for hours.  Time and time again, after hours had passed, there would be German people who would sneak out of the forest, come up to the sides of the cattle cars and push in between the slats of the car small containers of water and bits of food.  Their generosity kept me alive.  What they did was done at great risk.  So—whenever I hear someone with a German accent, I say to myself, ‘Could that be the child or the grandchild of one of those who dared to help me in my time of need?’ Then I smile at them inevitably.”

- Tony Campolo, "Leaving Auschwitz with Love," Red-Letter Christians blog, 2/12/2011