Karl Plagge the ‘New Schindler’
Israel has honored Karl Plagge, a German Army officer who saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazi Holocaust in Lithuania.
A German Army officer who saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazi Holocaust in Lithuania has been honoured at a ceremony in Israel. The story of Maj Karl Plagge was unearthed by a US doctor, Michael Good, who began searching in 1999 for the Nazi who had saved his mother. Maj Plagge sheltered about 1,200 Jews at a vehicle workshop, safe from the SS annihilation of the Vilnius ghetto.
Plagge, who died in 1957, was honoured by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. It is unusual for Yad Vashem to bestow the “Righteous Among the Nations” title on a German who was part of the Nazi war machine, the memorial’s chairman Avner Shalev told the BBC News website. “He asked for more and more workers and tried his best to keep the conditions relatively more human,” Mr Shalev said. Plagge, who served in Vilnius from June 1941 to June 1944, ran a repair facility for German Army (Wehrmacht) vehicles, where hundreds of Jews worked.
Plagge hired about 1,200 Jewish workers from the ghetto – 500 men, and the rest women and children, Mr Shalev said. Plagge told the high command that keeping families together would boost the workers’ motivation – thereby defying the SS troops, who were killing Jews en masse.
He joined Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler in the roll of honour at Yad Vashem. Schindler, hero of a 1993 movie called Schindler’s List, saved up to 1,200 Jews by employing them in his munitions factory during the war. Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, saved many Hungarian Jews.
via Foreign Policy