Sunday, 22 October 2017

World War II Hero and my Hero

Mamokhele is 16.  By the age of 12 she had lost both parents and her older sister.  She took charge of her four younger siblings until they all became part of one of Bracelet of Hope’s Foster Families.  Her's is a life worth saving.

This weekend, I finished a book by Alison Pick called, ‘ Far to Go’.  It’s a tough read but beautifully written.  It tells the story of a Jewish family trapped in their homeland of Czechoslovakia after the German occupation in 1939.  The focus of the story is their six-year-old son, Pepik, and their efforts to protect him from the ravages of war.  His parents find him a spot on a Kindertransport which carries him to England.  He never sees his parents again.  

I have never been able to read books or watch movies about the 6 million Jews who were killed in Nazi concentration camps.  I can’t stomach it.  My father was 9 years old and living in Amsterdam when the Germans occupied the Netherlands.  He was transported out of the city and onto a farm in the countryside where he lived until Holland was liberated.  He never talked about this time in his life.  What was it like for parents to load their children, unattended, onto trains that took them to far away places to live with strangers?  What was it like for the children?

Kindertransport was the term used to describe a series of rescue efforts which brought thousands of refugee children to Great Britain from 1938 to 1940.  Most of these children were never reconnected with their families.  They were the only members of their families that survived the Holocaust.  

 Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer was a Dutch woman who was responsible for saving the lives of 10,000 Jewish refugee children.  Her efforts made her one of the greatest heroes of World War II.  A number of children saved by the Kindertransports went on to become prominent public figures.  Four of these children became Nobel Laureates.  Orphaned by war and rescued by strangers, they went on to change that world in dramatic ways.

I was sitting down to dinner with my adult children tonight.  It is birthday week in our family.  When my father was alive, we celebrated three birthdays in 7 days:  His, My oldest son’s and my husband’s.  Three generations under one roof at one point; in our world, that’s a blessing.  I mentioned this book to my kids and told them the story of Geertruida and her Kindertransport.  “ You never know who your efforts will save”, I said. 

 Every soul is worth saving.  Every child deserves to be raised in a family.  Every child deserves to be rescued from the ravages of war, famine, death, and disease.  I am often asked why I work so hard and dedicate so much of my time to the lives of children that live 10,000 km away.  There are many answers to that question.  I am sure that Geertruida never imagined that four of the children she saved would win the Nobel Prize, the world’s highest achievement.  Good begets good.  Good can conquer evil.  Good can change the world.  Nothing else will.

We all understand this, don’t we?  Or maybe we have lost the knowledge that there even is good and evil and that we have a choice between one or the other in every interaction, every action, every decision.   Or maybe the choice is even simpler than that; maybe we just need to be a little less self-focused and more focused on all the good that can be done in the world, one good deed, one kind word, one saved orphan at a time.

Thanks again for your support.


The link to one more good deed:

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