Roddie Edmonds Refused to Back Down When He Said, “We Are All Jews here.”
back down: to retreat or surrender in a confrontation or argument
stand one’s ground: to refuse to change one’s opinion or position, especially when faced with opposition or pressure
During World War II, American soldier Roddie Edmonds was a prisoner of war in Germany. As the highest-ranking soldier, Sargeant Edmonds faced a difficult choice. The Germans wanted to separate the Jewish American prisoners. Edmonds was a Christian, but he knew this meant many of his fellow soldiers would be killed or sent to a slave labor camp. When they asked for the Jews to stand, Edmonds ordered everyone to stand. The German officer in charge said, ‘They cannot all be Jews.” Edmonds replied, “We are all Jews here.”
The German officer threatened him with a gun, but Edmonds stood his ground. He knew what was right and refused to back down. He said, “If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war, you will be tried for war crimes.” The German officer was the one who eventually backed down and walked away. Edmonds saved the lives of 200 Jewish soldiers that day.
(Watch the videos below to learn more about Roddie Edmonds and to hear both of today’s expressions in Tom Petty’s 1989 hit song, I Won’t Back Down.)
1. When my brother and I argued over the remote control, neither of us wanted to back down.
2. The teacher challenged us to a debate, and I didn’t want to back down, so I prepared my arguments.
3. Jenny’s boss wanted her to work overtime, but she firmly refused to back down as she had made plans.
4. Despite the opposition, the activists continued to stand their ground and fight for equality.
5. Emma’s parents wanted her to change her career path, but she stood her ground and pursued her passion.
6. The company tried to lower their salaries, but the employees stood their ground and demanded fair compensation.
‘We Are All Jews Here’