A member of Britain’s House of Lords is setting up a fund that will provide 12-18 months of paid support to over 2,000 Middle Eastern Christians from Iraq and Syria caught in the line of ISIS’ fire. George Weidenfeld, who is 95 and a survivor of the Holocaust, made his pledge as a pay-it-forward for his escape in 1938 during Germany’s annexation of Austria.
A group known as Plymouth Brethren and Quakers clothed and fed Weidenfeld when they helped him escape to Britain before the beginning of World War II. By 1948, he founded the Weidenfeld and Nicholson publishing business, becoming a life peer in Britain’s House of Lords.
I had a debt to repay. It applies to so many young people who were on the Kinderstransport. It was very high-minded operation and we Jews should also be thankful and do something for the endangered Christians.
Weidenfeld is spearheading Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund, which last week supported the flight of 150 Syrian Christians to Poland on a privately chartered plane to allow them to seek refuge, making them the first beneficiaries of the resettlement project.
Weidenfeld has chosen Christians because of forced conversion to Islam at the hands of terroristic extremists. The “pay it forward” attitude of Weidenfeld is the epitome of the Christian values Republicans fail to show. Whereas candidates like Jeb Bush want to impose a litmus test for refugees, other Republicans, like frontrunner Donald Trump, who wants to shut the door on all. Millions of individual Syrians and Iraqis, Christian and Muslim, have been displaced, killed, wounded and scarred for life. People like George Weidenfeld, Pope Francis, President Obama are dedicating time, money and resources to alleviating the suffering of those in the world.
This is what compassion looks like, and it’s time the United States does more to assist those in need. The time for hatred (perpetuated and fueled by Trump and his ilk) should not be dominating the headlines. The kind acts of humanitarianism that people like Weidenfeld.
Featured image a screen caption via YouTube