Christianity, World History

Meet William Wilberforce

Who is William Wilberforce? Moviegoers can now discover the man who led the fight to abolish slavery in the British Empire. Wilberforce inspired Abraham Lincoln and the anti-slavery movement, making him instrumental in ending slavery in the entire English-speaking world. See his story on the big screen in Amazing Grace, or get the rest of the story through Eric Metaxas’ new book Amazing Grace – William Wilberforce & the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery.

Why Amazing Grace? If you’ve ever sung the hymn Amazing Grace, you’ve sung the words of the man who was Wilberforce’s mentor, John Newton.  In the words of Wilberforce’s biographer, Eric Metaxas, in an interview with National Review Online’s Katharine Jean Lopez:

…Newton’s greatest achievement — greater than writing that world-famous hymn — may have been when he advised the newly converted Wilberforce not to leave politics, but to stay there so that God could use him there. It’s to his endless credit that Newton advised Wilberforce that way at such a crucial moment. One might say that it changed the world — and I do.

Watch it. Read it. Do it.

Christianity, Holocaust, Judaism, Photography, World History

Meet the "Leicajuden"

The story of how Ernst Leitz II, son of the founder of the world-famous manufacturer of the Leica camera, smuggled Jewish employees to new lives in America, rivals the story of Schindler’s List in its compassion and ironies. Leitz, whose father had been groomed to become a Protestant pastor, learned compassion from his father’s humanitarianism and practical Christianity, and found a new venue for that compassion when Hitler rose to power in the 1930s. The manufacturer of the camera used to capture images that glorified the “Master Race” subverted that propaganda by smuggling Jewish employees to new lives in America’s optical industry.

Read the whole story, including why it’s taken so long for the world to learn of this ‘righteous Gentile,’ in Mark Honigsbaum’s interview with Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith, whose painstaking amateur detective work pieced together the story, in “New life through a lens” at the Financial Times website. Frank Dabba Smith’s 2002 article “Ernst Leitz of Wetzlar and Altruism During the Holocaust,” (MS Word format) provides additional documentation for the amazing story of what I refer to as the “Leicajuden.”

Learn more about what historians have called the “Leica Freedom Train” from photographic historian George Gilbert’s article at and his 2004 presentation for the Photographic Historical Society of Canada.

(H/T to