President Donald Trump recounted a heroic event from the Battle of the Bulge during World War II where a group of over 1,000 captured American soldiers all identified as being Jewish when they were captured by the Nazis which prevented the Nazis from singling out and killing the actual Jewish soldiers in the group.
“In a few weeks, we will mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge — our nation’s bloodiest battle of World War Two. More than 47,000 Americans were wounded, and 19,000 gave their last breath for their country,” Trump said during the New York City Veterans Day Parade on Monday.
“Here with us today is Lauren Mathews, the granddaughter of a Battle of the Bulge veteran who has since passed away,” Trump said. “His name was Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds. Like so many of our veterans, Roddie never talked about the war. Lauren never knew her grandfather’s story until she embarked upon a school project about 10 years ago.”
“Roddie was in the 422nd regiment, which was overwhelmed when the Nazis launched their surprise assault,” Trump continued. “He and his men fought for three treacherous days before being taken as prisoners of war.”
“After they arrived at a prison camp, the German commander sent an order over the loud speaker. The Jewish-American soldiers were all told to step out of line during the roll call the next day,” Trump continued. “Knowing the terrible fate that would come to his Jewish comrades, Roddie immediately said, “We’re not doing that.” He sent orders to have every American step out of line with their Jewish brothers-in-arms.”
“The next morning, 1,292 Americans stepped forward,” Trump continued. “The German commander stormed over to Roddie and said, ‘They cannot all be Jews.’ Roddie stared right back; he said, ‘We are all Jews here.'”
“At that point, the German put a gun to Roddie’s head and demanded, ‘You will order the Jews to step forward immediately or I will shoot you right now through the head,'” Trump continued. “Roddie responded, ‘Major, you can shoot me, but you’ll have to kill us all.’ That’s something. The German turned red, got very angry, but put down his gun, and walked away.”
Trump added, “Master Sergeant Edmonds saved 200 Jewish-Americans — soldiers that day. So proud to be Jewish and so proud of our country. Lauren, thank you for being here today as we remember your grandfather’s unbelievable and exceptional valor. Lauren, please stand up. Thank you very much. ”
“One of the 200 Jewish-American soldiers who was saved that fateful day is Staff Sergeant Lester Tanner. Lester is now 96 years old — (applause) — and he joins us here. Boy, you guys are looking very good,” Trump concluded. “Ninety-six. Lester — you’re really 96, Lester? I don’t believe it. You’re looking good. Thank you very much. Thank you also for your very noble service and for sharing this incredible story with the world. Thank you very much, Lester.”
The Battle of the Bulge was the last military offensive launched by Nazi Germany during WWII on the Western Front. The Nazi’s goal in the 6-week military operation was to split Allied forces.
“As the Germans drove into the Ardennes, the Allied line took on the appearance of a large bulge, giving rise to the battle’s name,” History reported. “The battle proved to be the costliest ever fought by the U.S. Army, which suffered over 100,000 casualties.”