Archive for the ‘substitution’ Category

MAXIMILIAN KOLBE – HE DIED IN MY PLACE

January 9, 2010

It was February 1941, Auschwitz, Poland. Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan priest put in the infamous death camp for helping Jews escape Nazi terrorism.

Months went by and in desperation an escape took place. The camp rule was enforced. Ten people would be rounded up randomly and herded into a cell where they would die of starvation and exposure as a lesson against future escape attempts.

Names were called. A Polish Jew Frandishek Gasovnachek was called. He cried, “Wait, I have a wife and children!” Kolbe stepped forward and said, “I will take his place.” Kolbe was marched into the cell with nine others where he managed to live until August 14.

This story was chronicled on an NBC news special several years ago. Gasovnachek, by this time 82, was shown telling this story while tears streamed down his cheeks. A mobile camera followed him around his little white house to a marble monument carefully tended with flowers. The inscription read:

IN MEMORY OF MAXIMILIAN KOLBE
HE DIED IN MY PLACE.

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The example of Jesus is a bad example if it is only an example

December 16, 2009

The example of Jesus is a bad example if it is only an example.

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, (Hodder 2008), p.278, n.6

In 1942, Wladyslaw Misiuna, a teenager from Poland, was recruited by the Germans to help inmates at the concentration camp start a rabbit farm to supply furs for soldiers at the Russian front

October 17, 2009

In 1942, Wladyslaw Misiuna, a teenager from Poland, was recruited by the Germans to help inmates at the concentration camp start a rabbit farm to supply furs for soldiers at the Russian front.  Misiuna felt responsible for the thirty young women he supervised.  He stuffed his coat pockets with bread, milk, carrots and potatoes and smuggled in food for them.

But one day, one of his workers, Deborah Salzberg, contracted a mysterious infection.  Misiuna was beside himself.  He knew if the Germans discovered the open lesions on her arms they would kill her.  He had to cure her, but how?  He took the simplest route.  He infected himself with her blood and when the lesions appeared, he went to a doctor in town.  The doctor prescribed a medication, which Misiuna then shared with Deborah Salzberg.  Both were cured and both survived the war.

Eva Fogelman, Conscience and Courage, p.70

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows.

Isaiah 53.4a

I did it

October 3, 2009

The day’s work had ended; the tools were being counted, as usual. As the party was about to be dismissed, the Japanese guard shouted that a shovel was missing. He insisted that someone had stolen it to sell to the Thais. Striding up and down before the men, he ranted and denounced them for their wickedness, and most unforgivable of all their ingratitude to the Emperor. As he raved, he worked himself up into a paranoid fury. Screaming in broken English, he demanded that the guilty one step forward to take his punishment. No one moved; the guard’s rage reached new heights of violence.

“All die! All die!” he shrieked.

To show that he meant what he said, he cocked his rifle, put it to his shoulder and looked down the sights, ready to fire at the first man at the end of them. At that moment the Argyll (Highlander) stepped forward, stood stiffly to attention, and said calmly, “I did it.”

The guard unleashed all his whipped-up hate; he kicked the helpless prisoner and beat him with his fists. Still the Argyll stood rigidly to attention, with the blood streaming down his face. His silence goaded the guard to an excessive rage. Seizing his rifle by the barrel, he lifted it high over his head and with a final howl, brought it down on the skull of the Argyll, who sank limply to the ground and did not move. Although it was perfectly clear that he was dead, the guard continued to beat him and stopped only when exhausted.
The men of the work detail picked up their comrade’s body, shouldered their tools and marched back to camp. When the tools were counted again at the guard-house no shovel was missing.

John Piper comments: The guard had miscounted. The young soldier who stepped forward had not stolen a shovel. He had given his life for his friends.

Extract from, Ernest Gordon, To End All Wars

Seeing a Japanese grenade falling in the midst of his colleagues, Osborn shouted a warning and threw himself on it as it exploded, saving at least six others at the expense of his own life

October 3, 2009

Seeing a Japanese grenade falling in the midst of his colleagues, Osborn shouted a warning and threw himself on it as it exploded, saving at least six others at the expense of his own life. After the war, when returning PoWs tell of Osborn’s deed, he is awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, the only one of the Hong Kong defense.

Martin Gilbert, WWII, p.280 (December 18th, 1941)

Company Sergeant Major John Osborn was a World War I veteran.

Wang Jie was training a group of young soldiers to throw live hand grenades. One recruit was nervous and dropped his as he pulled out the pin.The seconds ticked by as he stared, transfixed, at the grenade lying just inches from his feet…

October 3, 2009

Wang Jie was training a group of young soldiers to throw live hand grenades. One recruit was nervous and dropped his as he pulled out the pin.The seconds ticked by as he stared, transfixed, at the grenade lying just inches from his feet. The other trainees threw themselves to the ground, but Wang Jie flung himself forward and covered the grenade with his body just before it exploded. His chest was blown to bits, but his action saved his comrades and the young recruit was unharmed. In his diary he had written, ‘Soldiers armed with Mao-Tse Tung thought are all conquering. For the revolution I fear neither hardships nor death. We must regard Mao-Tse Tung thought as our food, our weapon and our steering wheel and always act according to Mao’s instructions in our daily life.

Gao Anhua, To the Edge of the Sky, p.121