The Atlanta Jewish Community

Collaboration in the Face of Difference


  • Leilani K. Harris


In the years before World War II, the American Jewish community became aware of the increasingly anti-Semitic atmosphere that pervaded Europe. Well before the world faced another global war, American Jews began to coordinate relief efforts for those living under the oppression of the Third Reich. The leadership of the American Jewish community did what they could through the restraints of the Great Depression, devoting their lives to saving those abroad from the devastation that would later occur. The actions of people such as Harold Hirsch, David Marx, Harry H. Epstein, and Tobias Geffen showed how men of differing ideologies could make a stand to save unknown souls in the name of religious tolerance and human decency. Their actions serve as a lesson to current and future generations that hope, dedication, and perseverance can and will prevail. Though the Holocaust continued and the actions of Hirsch, Marx, Epstein, and Geffen may have seemed small and inconsequential in the face of millions of lives lost, their dedication still mattered. To those who lived due to the deeds of the Atlanta few, their actions would mean everything.