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Schindler Gene? Explanation why some, extremely few, nonvictims protect victims

This blog does not aim to describe the life history of Oskar Schindler, but a summarization is important. Oskar Schindler was a Germanic Roman Catholic who moved from the Sudetenland to Poland at the outbreak of the WWII, became a member of the Nazi Party, moved to near Krakow Poland, bought a factory at bargain price because it was owned by a Jew, made tableware and eventually munitions for the Nazi army. In 1938-1939 he lived the high life of a Nazi elite, hanging out with Nazi elite, partying, beautiful Polish women, made a huge fortune. More-or-less what most everyone would do if they found themselves in his situation.

Then something changed. He saw things for what they were, and he experienced a crisis of conscience. Probably 50% of people do not have the insight to recognize a crisis of this sort. 49.99% see the crisis, but turn a blind eye. 0.01% of individuals when seeing the crisis of conscience act against their best interest and self-preservation, and do the ethically correct thing. He was confronted with the reality that Jewish people were rounded up and murdered in concentration camps. He was in the 0.01% of people (applies to all people not just Germans) top take it upon himself to do whatever he could to save the lives of Jews, and spent the rest of the war protecting Jewish workers at his factories and their extended community. He is credited with saving at least 1,200 Jews from extermination through various complicated maneuvers against the Nazi death machine. He spent his vast fortune saving Jews, and more importantly he risked his life and the lives of his family in doing so. The Nazis were a vicious bunch and would kill not only individuals but also their families if they did things in opposition to the Nazi plan. This was not just a simple matter of being fired from a university because he reported up the university chain that a doctor was operating drunk on patients, this is a person who risked death as a nonvictim to protect victims

In my opinion this 0.01% this represents the expression of a gene, much like I opine GDD is genetic. Why would an otherwise highly successful nonvictim insider defend and protect victims that he has no association/community with? Some would say it is because he was a sucker. I however would say that it is the rarest form of bravery, which is the willingness to stand alone to protect/save victims that you have no community/ association with: an insider nonvictim protecting victims.

Unlike other forms of bravery, notably victims protecting victims, or individuals risking their lives to fight other countries just wars or treating COVID patients in the emergency department, which are generally part of a crow-activity of protection, nonvictims protecting victims is a solitary form of bravery - these generally are individuals alone standing up against a (corrupt) establishment, a lonely form of bravery.

Likely some of the early Christians, especially martyrs, may have had the same gene. Many with this gene are intellectually gifted, which is why they have insight: I suspect St Augustine of HIPPO also had that gene. Paul the Apostle started out rich and early in his life took part in the persecution of Christians, then he had a blinding awakening. Peter the Apostle also had his famous Quo Vadis moment. Throughout history there are examples of individuals who have stood up and at great personal risk protected individuals they had no commonality with, and often the opposite commonality, Schindler and Paul the Apostle. Many were intellectually gifted and lived a privileged life, and likely a number lived prior to their crisis of conscience, lived a privileged, indulgent life. Saint Perpetua would be an example. How could they be such suckers?... I mean heroes.

I can only explain it that it has to be genetic. Extremely few people have the instinct in their very core that there is right and there is wrong, and are prepared to follow the path of right, even if it kills them. It is almost as if they have no choice, because it is in their DNA.

This is not to minimize other forms of aforementioned bravery. All forms of bravery that have a good intention are important. Relatively common are victims speaking out to defend/ protect other victims. Most notably in the modern press, women victims of sexual molestation speaking up to defend other victims. Why have there been no men in all the multitude of women victimizations (military, media and entertainment, medicine, etc) to speak up to protect women? In my opinion it is because the Schindler gene is rare, maybe 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000 have the gene (about the same as the GDD gene). The vast majority have the life- preserving mind set genetic cod:, ignore bad behavior in others, because it almost always will have dire consequences to yourself if you try to speak up and do something to stop it: I don't want to get fired [university setting] or killed [dictatorship setting] so I am just going to see women molested or patients killed by drunk doctors and stay silent, because I do not want to jeopardize my own welfare.

Women victims speaking up for other women victims.

Blacks who recognize that collectively they have been mistreated in the US for 400 years, speaking up for other blacks.

These are all very powerful brave voices for change. This is not the Schindler gene though, this is more of a collective bravery, which is also of great importance.

(Almost) no white males have spoken up for victims in any of the settings: entertainment, military, university, medicine. Why would I risk my career and welfare to protect other people? Only 1 in 10,000 have the Schindler gene, and none of the men in all those recent accounts, who were aware of what was going on, did anything to prevent or stop it from continuing to occur. They did not have the gene, they had the most frequent genetic profile of self-preservation above other considerations.

Interestingly, he risks associated with the Schindler gene bravery, are often not as great (except for the case of Schindler, and most others) as those who take party in community bravery, such as americans volunteering to fight for Ukrainians in Ukraine. Or the community bravery of physicians and nurses and other health care workers willing to work in the Emergency Depts in the USA during the height of the COVID pandemic, where their own death was a possible outcome. Community bravery is much more common, but is itself remarkable and the potential outcomes can be death.

The Schindler gene bravery is probably most commonly present in Investigative reporters, who are not part of the persecuted community, who deliberately putting themselves daily in danger, in war torn environments, or in risky dangerous nations to speak up and shed light on corruption and evil, Many brave investigative reporters (Russians in Russia for example) are though part of the community. The relatively few who are not part of that community have the Schindler gene, and a number have come to our attention through their murder by criminal religious groups or nations.

I do pause to ask myself, why am I such a sucker to stand up as a nonvictim to protect victims, when I know it comes with tremendous career and financial risk. I cannot help it. I have the profound sense of right and wrong, and the courage to act on it.. I am not a Schindler, but I do have the gene. At least I have not fallen out of a window to my death... yet.

It is imperative to change the standard play book, of organizations and countries allowing corrupt or dangerous practices to occur, and the response being to cover it up. This is virtually universally true in the present time, and throughout history. It is high time to change the game and turn the table on those that allow bad things to happen. I am prepared to be that agent of change. Be the change you want to see in the world. I cannot do it alone.

Richard Semelka, MD


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