Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 01 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Alphonsus Liguori
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

A Jewish stop on the Underground Railroad was inspired by Passover

Shutterstock and Kansas Historical Society | Fair Use

Zelda Caldwell - published on 04/12/17

A Viennese immigrant offered his Kansas home to liberate slaves.

“No more Pharaohs and no more slaves,” wrote August Bondi, a Jewish immigrant from Vienna, in 1863, after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

His words recalled those of the Haggadah, which tells the story of  the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt, and is read each Passover:

“Once we were slaves in Egypt. Now we are free people.”

Bondi was shocked by the treatment of slaves he had witnessed upon his arrival in the United States. In 1850 he took a job as a sailor on a Mississippi freighter, and wrote in his diary,

“The screams of the slaves, who were whipped with leather straps every morning, woke me up before dawn at four in the morning.”

His later experiences in Texas left him a confirmed abolitionist.

“I could have married the most beautiful woman in Texas,” he wrote, according to an article in Jewish Currents, “but I felt I could not marry a woman who owned slaves, because my father’s son could never be a slave-driver.”

Bondi later joined the anti-slavery movement, and fought with the abolitionist militia in Kansas. His home there was one of the only Jewish stops on the Underground Railroad.

Once the Civil War started in 1861, Bondi enlisted in the Union Army and served for 37 months. He later returned to Kansas, opened a grocery store, farmed, sold real estate, went to law school, and was elected as a county judge. Read more about August Bondi and the abolitionist movement here.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.