NEW YORK—The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) welcomed President Donald Trump’s recognition of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds’ heroism at this morning’s wreath laying ceremony ahead of New York’s Veterans Day Parade.
In 2016, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous posthumously recognized Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, with its Yehi Or Award for his heroic efforts in saving the lives of 200 American Jewish prisoners of war during World War II at the organization’s annual dinner. The JFR also produced the award-winning documentary titled “Footsteps of My Father,” told through the lens of Edmond’s son, Pastor Chris Edmonds, and several American Jewish POWs including Lester Tanner who was present at this morning’s event.
Master Sgt. Edmonds was captured during the Battle of the Bulge by the German army on December 19, 1944. As the highest-ranking officer in the Stalag IXA, a prisoner of war 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. Instead, Edmonds refused, and when the German commandant placed his pistol against Edmonds' head, demanding that he identify the Jewish soldiers, Edmonds responded "We are all Jews here,” refusing to identify the Jewish soldiers thereby saving their lives.
Edmonds survived 100 days of captivity, and returned home after the war, but never told his family of his actions. Edmonds passed away in 1985, and only long after was first recognized for his heroic actions.
The JFR continues its work of providing monthly financial assistance to more than 265 aged and needy rescuers living in 18 countries. Since its founding, the JFR has provided more than $40 million to these noble men and women – helping to repay a debt of gratitude on behalf of the Jewish people. 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.