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THE GOLDEN RULE AND THE HOLOCAUST


Living the Golden Rule is pretty simple isn’t it? It’s just being considerate, mindful, and thoughtful but sometimes to live the Golden Rule requires great moral courage. It requires a willingness to sacrifice.


In March of 1943, Bulgaria which had aligned with the Nazis received orders from Berlin that they were to begin implementing the Final Solution, the extermination of the Jewish people in Bulgaria and deport them to Treblinka. The King of Bulgaria and the Parliament did not want to fulfill this order, but they passed it on nonetheless. The people of Bulgaria began to wonder what would happen to their Jewish neighbors and friends.


Now the railroad cars were lined up 100’s long and the Jewish people in 3 towns were to be gathered at the local elementary school and then placed on the trains. Plodda was one of those towns. The Jewish people were told to bring only what they could carry. They were placed behind a chainlink fence at the school and they knew what was going to happen. They began to cry out to their neighbors and tell them goodbye with tears streaming down their faces.


Orthodox Bishop Curel comes to investigate this thing he had heard about. He cries out, "Children, the Christians of this country will not allow this to happen to you. I will not allow this to happen to you. I will lay my body on these tracks and they will have to run over my body. This will not happen to you." He and the people of that town began to speak out. Others began to speak out. Several members of Parliament stood up and spoke but they were relieved of their offices and never served again in politics. But the people refused to let the trains leave.


Months later, the German Ambassador to Bulgaria on June 7, 1943 writes this back to Berlin: "I am firmly convinced that the Ambassador and the Parliament wish and strive for a radical final solution to the Jewish problem. However they are hindered by the mentality of the Bulgarian people who lack the ideological enlightenment we have." Instead they were enlightened by the teachings of Jesus who said, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And because the Christians of Bulgaria stood up against this while 6 million Jews were killed, of the 49,000 Jews of Bulgaria, all were saved and not a single one of them was killed by the Nazis. They were a people who took seriously the Golden Rule and had the moral courage to stand up for what they believe.


Would you? Would you have the moral courage to say no, not here, now now, not ever?


(From a sermon by Tim Smith, The Gold Standard, l10/19/2009)

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