Conquering Hitler

Everyone can be great because everyone can serve … you only need a heart full of grace … a soul generated by love - Martin Luther King, Jr.





One day while volunteering at the hospital I met a lady by the name of Mary, a pleasant and interesting person. After talking to her for a while I said, “You don’t sound as if you’re from this area.” “I’m not from Florida,” she said, “I was born in Poland.” “Were you there during the war,” I asked? “I was thirteen when Hitler invaded my country. All my family was killed except for my father and myself; we were placed in concentration camps.” For three years the young teenager did little more than exist in a city ruled by serial killers. Multiple murders were an everyday occurrence. Her tormentors had an insatiable appetite for blood; the more they killed the more they needed to kill. For three years she lived in fear of her life until being liberated from prison by the Russian Army. She had been starved and was in such bad shape that few thought she would make it. But miraculously she lived and walked out of the hospital in Palestine after eighteen months of treatment. In spite of what she had been through, Mary possessed a tremendous will to live and an intense craving to do something of significance. She overcame the physical trauma of her imprisonment and needed a purpose to help her overcome the mental agony that haunted her daily. So Mary joined the British Army, where she was trained to be a nurse. A few years later her father, who also survived the death camps, found Mary who was then working in a hospital. He was alive indeed and Mary was absolutely overwhelmed with joy at their reunion.


Mary conquered Hitler’s horror through her faith in God and by giving her life in service to others. She eventually married, came to America, raised her family and worked as a medical professional until her retirement. She personified the words of Albert Schweitzer who proclaimed, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but the only thing I know, the only ones among you who will really be happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”


“If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me you will find it” (Christ). Mary lost her life in a concentration camp and found it again while serving others in need. By serving others she found the purpose of her existence. “We are happy and grow only when we are pouring ourselves into empty vessels” (Tommy Barnett).

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