Israel honors GI who told the Nazis, ‘We are all Jews’

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JERUSALEM (AP) – An American World War II veteran is being posthumously honored by Israel.

Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds is credited with saving the lives of Jewish Americans at a POW camp in Germany in January 1945.

Edmonds, the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer in the camp, rejected a Nazi order to single out Jewish prisoners.

Edmonds ordered more than 1,000 Americans captives to step forward with him and brazenly pronounced: “We are all Jews here.”

He would not waver, even with a pistol to his head, and his captors eventually backed down.

Seventy years later, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native is being recognized with Israel’s highest honor for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II. Edmonds, who died in 1985, is the first American serviceman to earn the honor.

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