Henri Bergson, a French philosopher in the early 1900's, wrote with such force and poetic style that in 1928 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature
. In 1939 he was so reknowned and respected that the occupying Nazi army exempted him from restrictions placed on other Jews. A few weeks before his death, despite the exemption offered him, at the age of eighty-one he left his sickbed to stand in a queue in order to register as a Jew and so shame the German-inspired Vichy government that had barred Jews from holding educational posts in France. And he renounced all the honors whose retention might have been taken for his approval of the government. He made his position clear in a passage in his will:
My reflections have led me closer and closer to Catholicism, in which I see the fulfillment of Judaism. I would have become a convert, had I not forseen for years a formidable wave of anti-Semitism about to break upon the world. I wanted to remain among those who tomorrow were to be prosecuted.
(Taken from The Seekers, by Daniel J. Boorstin.)
Labels: Culture, History, Peace, Politics