Since, I have learned that Sir Amess was a friend to the Jewish community in Southend-on-Sea. Rabbi David Mitchell of the West London Synagogue introduced me to the history of Raoul Wallenberg’s memorial near his community – a memorial that Sir Amess campaigned for as a symbol of Wallenberg’s heroism which saved tens of thousands of our people.
One of the themes of this week’s parasha – Vayera וַיֵּרָא is the importance of never standing by before an injustice. Abraham, of course, debates with God about the preservation of Sodom and Gemorrah. Abraham ibn Ezra (1092-1167) even goes as far as to claim that it was because the innocent remained silent and never protested the ill-deeds of others that they didn’t qualify as righteous enough to save the city.
Though I never had the opportunity to meet him, I am thankful for the work of Sir Amess, who raised the consciousness of Raoul Wallenberg and his righteous deeds.