Schmid wrote to his wife and daughter before his execution. Here he explained: ‘I have only acted as a human being’.
Will you follow orders or will you act as a human being?
Although the Jews whom he had saved and who were lucky enough to survive the Holocaust honoured Schmid and his family, the wider public first learned about his attempts to help and save Jews in 1961 during the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. In her book about Eichmann in Jerusalem Hannah Arendt reports how witnesses referred to the saving action of Feldwebel Anton Schmid and that a complete silence of two minutes was observed in the court when Schmid’s deeds were recounted. She adds: ‘And in those two minutes which appeared to be like a sudden burst of light in the midst of impenetrable, unfathomable darkness, a single thought stood out clearly, irrefutably, beyond question – how utterly different everything would be today in this court room, in Israel, in Germany, in all of Europe, and perhaps in all countries of the world, if only more such stories could have been told.
Anton Schmid was executed on 13 April 1942 by a firing squad in a Vilnius prison.
Source: Trinity College Cambridge Sunday 20 October 2013
“Some Modern Saints? Anton Schmid (1900–42)”, Werner Jeanrond