Auschwitz was actually three camps and they were part of the horror of the Holocaust, the mass execution of the Jews and others (but primarily Jews) by the Nazis during World War II.
The State of Israel confers a title of Righteous Among Nations on people who risked their lives to save Jewish people during that time.
“Risked their lives.”
I thought about that phrase as I read the article.
I’ve never risked my life ever.
Sure, I’ve gone diving and had a scary accidental encounter with a shark. I was in a terrible car accident and should have died.
And I did some mighty stupid stuff as a teenager.
But I never intentionally risked my life for another person.
I taught college full time and as an adjunct, and I would often start or end classes with an ethical dilemma.
I did it to challenge the student’s thinking and help them develop critical thinking skills, just as the memorable instructors who taught me had.
Some of them answered with great bluster about the tough stand they’d take; and some of them talked bravely about standing up to a superior if they discovered an ethical violation or they felt the business was engaging in behavior that was wrong somehow.
I can only hope those students went on to do just that when the time called for it.
As a former corporate employee — HR manager and director — I can attest that it’s not easy to do and if you’re a corporate staffer reading this or remember those days in corporate life, you choose your battles wisely.
Now reading this article and thinking about the Holocaust and those who bravely “risked their lives” to save others, I think about how I haven’t always been brave enough to even be myself.
There were times when I gave in and took on a client I didn’t really want to work with because I wasn’t brave enough to insist that I only wanted to work on certain types of projects and hers wasn’t one of them.
There were times when I put in so much extra work on a project that I felt completely used and taken advantage of by a client who was paying me peanuts. Because I wouldn’t stand up and say “listen, what you’re asking me to do is way above the scope of our agreement and I’m going to have to charge you _______ for that.”
What was I afraid of? What did I feel I was risking? It certainly wasn’t my life.
“Risked their life.”
So on this day of all days, I honor those who died, those who survived, those who gave their lives to free others, and those who risked their lives that others may live by promising — myself, my God, and those I’m meant to serve that. if those at Auschwitz and the other death camps and on the battle fields and streets can be brave enough to put so much on the line, I can certainly be brave enough to speak honestly, to serve only those I’m meant to serve, and do only work that brings me joy.
What about you? Have you allowed a fear to grip you? Will you allow that fear to keep you from achieving your dreams? Or will you decide that you’ve had enough and become brave enough to live a full, honest life and allow yourself to create a business that’s truly in sync with who you really are?