Friday, February 18, 2011

Show them what you're worth

Last night I was watching a movie about a Polish woman that saved half of the Jews left alive in her small town during WWII by hiding most of them in a loft above a pigsty and some in a dug-out below her kitchen, for almost two years. There had been six thousand living there, by the start of the war there were thirty left.
It was not so much just the story of the people cramped into tiny places for all that time,who subsequently could not stand straight or talk above a whisper for months after their liberation, but how under the enormous pressures of prying neighbors, poverty and the promise of execution if she was caught, this woman and her daughter managed to provide humanity in a barren place.
I know with these stories the notion of the experience is what we take away. But Eamon and I were talking about the movie, I thought about the every day. They probably did not change their clothes, they had to hand down their waste to Francisca Halamajowa to mix with her pig poop in order to hide it.
I needed some perspective this week, though I didn't know to what extent, but I got a good whack in the head of what a sense of suffering can be and what a little discomfort feels like.


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