Posts Tagged ‘Zwodau’

A noble gift

June 21, 2009

I read an account of French resistance fighter Brigitte Friang, who in the closing years of World War II was near death with tuberculosis in Zwodau concentration camp, Poland. 

On 23 January 1945 Brigitte turned twenty-one.  Still near death, she was visited by her two close friends.  They had managed against all odds to find a potato, which they topped with a stick, and she described this birthday cake as the “most beautiful gift I ever received.”

Isn’t that the most noble act?  That two people, undoubtedly famished and probably starving, would share the precious gift of a whole potato with a dying friend, when they badly needed the nourishment for themselves.  That’s true unselfishness and a stupendous act of giving.  No wonder no other gift compared – this humble present was quite possibly the gift of life for Brigitte (who survived and went on to become a journalist, later covering the Vietnam War).  

Women in War – first-hand accounts from World War II to El Salvador, Shelley Saywell (Viking, 1985)