Sometimes I must just pause and contemplate things that may be coincidence or may be something more. Most of my posts are pretty light-hearted in nature, but today I was asked to photograph a guest speaker at a local school. That speaker was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the stories he relayed to the students were simply heart wrenching. He spoke more candidly to the adults afterward and the ordeal this man went through and survived is nothing short of miraculous. The coincidence part I mentioned is because I post a shot last night about a guardian angel, and today this man told numerous stories of his days at Auschwitz, and how he was saved many times by a guardian angel. It just struck me that I could have posted that image a month from now, but I chose last night.
I will share two stories he offered for anyone brave enough to read. The first Story involves him finding a tunnel that the German Shepherds had dug,which went right under the electrified fence. He had made up his mind that he was going to try to escape and either die trying or live upon his escape, and the day before he was planning his attempt, eleven men had done the same thing and were caught outside the perimeter. He said every man was made to parade with a sign saying they were glad to be back inside,and then they were lined up to be shot. Before they were shot, the commander asked for eleven volunteers to join them, and if no one volunteered, he would be selecting 50 men himself. He said in less than three minutes, eleven men had volunteered, and then all 22 men were shot in front of them. He still made his attempt the next day,and upon exiting found a boot on his neck, but after making some conversation in german with the man about his family and children, he was given the chance to get away by this man, and once again the guardian angel was there.
The last story I will share of his experiences is one where he was in italy after his escape, and one day he was stopped by german soldiers and questioned. He spoke perfect italian, but the men refused to believe he was a native of the town, and immediately took him to the wall for execution. He said the commander gave the order to prepare to shoot him, and out of nowhere comes a Priest yelling at him and giving the performance of a lifetime. He said this man was so dramatic,saying he had been looking for him and he was supposed to get to the church to do his work. He had no idea who this man was, and as the soldiers stood there in a puzzled way, the priest led him away by his ear no less, and at a safe distance told him to run for all he was worth. Again the guardian angel was there.
He sat 15 feet from Hitler at the 1936 olympics, and watched him turn his back on Jesse Owens, and he also watched Joseph Mengele decide who would live and die on numerous occasions. Hopefully I did not upset anyone with my post today,but to hear this man tell of his journey was something that just left me with a sense of utter sorrow for all those who suffered.