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June 19: The Original European Union

June 19, 2013

8747Israel presented medals of honor on this date in 2006 to the living relatives of five anti-Nazi resistance fighters of the European Union, a Marxist-influenced group of Germans who came together in 1939 to resist the barbarism of their Nazi rulers. The group produced anti-Nazi leaflets and hid Jews and others hunted by the regime. Of the EU’s fifty-odd members, consisting of both Germans and forced laborers from conquered countries, forty were arrested in a sweep by the Gestapo in 1943, and the Jews they were hiding were sent to Auschwitz. There were more than a dozen trials of EU members, with thirteen executions. “Dwell on this,” wrote Georg Groscurth, a founder of the resistance group, before his execution, in a letter to his wife and co-founder, Anneliese, who survived the war, “that we’re dying for a better future, for a life without man’s hatred for man.” She and her husband, both of whom were doctors, along with three other key members of the European Union, were named “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem at the 2006 ceremony in Berlin.

“In Germany and countries occupied by Hitler, many anti-fascist groups are today still working without connections. Many valuable and skilled political people are still isolated. They’re all striving for agreement. This agreement can today only be realized with the elimination of all ideological, dogmatic and religious prejudice. Today, we have no time for such discussions, which mean nothing to the practical political work. The goal is the overthrow of fascism in Europe.” —The European Union, Flyer #35, July, 1943