Let me tell you a story.
Hannah Arendt was born in 1906 in Germany to a non-religious Jewish family. She grew up, went to the university and studied philosophy, but was prevented from becoming a teacher because she wasn’t allowed as a Jew to complete her teaching prerequisites. She spent time researching anti-Semitism before being arrested by the Gestapo in 1933. She was only in prison briefly and then left the country for France. At the beginning of the war, she fled with her husband and mother to the United States, having been given illegal papers by an American diplomat who aided Jewish refugees. After the war, she returned to Germany and worked for a Zionist organization that rescued children and settled them in Palestine. She began to write books. She became well-known as a philosopher, though she didn’t like being called that because she said philosophy was concerned with individual man. She considered herself a political theorist because she focused on the fact that “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world.” She became a college professor and lecturer (the first female lecturer at Princeton, in fact.) Hannah died in New York in 1975.
The man who helped Hannah and her family get to the U.S. was named Hiram Bingham.
Hiram Bingham was born in 1903 to a distinguished Connecticut Christian family. He graduated from Yale in 1925. Bingham’s career in the foreign service took him to Japan, China, Poland, and England before landing him in Marseilles, France in 1939. When Hitler invaded in 1940, the French government put foreign refugees into internment camps and the U.S. government discouraged diplomats from helping these refugees. Bingham didn’t care. He cooperated with rescue workers to help over 2500 Jews flee from France as the Nazi’s approached. He aided the emigration of Marc Chagall, Hannah Arendt, and novelist Lion Feuchtwanger, even sheltering Feuchtwanger in his house for a while after aiding in his escape from the internment camp. As a consequence of all this, the US government pulled Bingham from France and transferred him to Portugal and then to Argentina, where he proceeded to help track Nazi war criminals in South America. Naturally, he was passed over for promotion, and resigned from the foreign service in 1945.
Lion Feuchtwanger was born in Germany in 1884. He fought briefly in World War I, but was released for health reasons. He was a playwright and later a novelist who was very influential in the life of famous playwright Bertolt Brecht. Feuchtwanger was among the first to recognize and expose the evils of the Nazi party. His Conversations with a Wandering Jew was published in 1920 and already described the anti-Semitic fervor that would overtake his country with eery accuracy. You can read more about the story of his persecution by the Nazi party and the many, many people who helped him escape here.
You can read about Bertold Brecht here.
You can read about philanthropist Martha Sharp, who worked with Hiram Bingham, here.
You can find your own meaning in these true stories wherever you want.
(All this information comes from the hallowed lines of Wikipedia. Yep, that's research.)
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