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Hans Calmeyer Righteous Gentile 1903-1972

“The Dutch Schindler”

 Lawyer for Life

At the Switch

Why Save a Life ?

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Eternity Symbol

Calmeyer was hired to be at the switch of deciding the racial and cultural heritage of people whose files he was given, and whose contents he to some extent could research, build out, and re-create. This switch was an enormous responsibility which he and his subordinates as a team knew to be a matter of enslavement and life and death for many of the subjects, and a matter of dispossession at the very least for all of them. A unique position to be in, because only Hitler himself in Berlin had previously had the authority to research Jewish backgrounds and make recommendations of this type. Elsewhere, no quarter at all was given: suspected Jews were Jews, and the consequences would be a simple disposition of the law: deportation.

Calmeyer Switch

When you find yourself at a switch anything like this: Why save lives when those lives are threatened by evils which appear far too great to oppose ?

And he pitched his tent having Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he builded an altar.     Genesis 12:8  

Hans Calmeyer saw himself as a “Hans im Glück” which in English means a happy-go-lucky journeyman who takes life and opportunity as it is given to him, somewhat passively but always with great enthusiasm and cheer in making the best of a situation. When Abram in the above allusion to Godliness and Worldliness (Bethel and Ai) chose to pitch his tent between the two places and extremes, he respected both and had access to and roles in both, he neither avoided the world nor did he avoid God. Calmeyer lived in both extremes, an intense Nazi time and environment with lots of crucial decisions and dangers and wrong, and acted as if in a spiritual place set above, a more God-pleasing place of ethics and right, that righteousness that Yad Vashem awarded him.