Monday, August 1, 2011

Irene Gut: A Choice

The hotel was right next to Radom's Jewish ghetto, and one day Irene witnessed a horrible sight. Jews in the ghetto -- including pregnant women and children -- were screaming, trying to run from SS officers who were chasing them down, trying to kill them. Then Irene saw one officer catch a mother holding an infant. With one movement of his hand, he pulled the baby away from its mother and threw it to the ground on its head.

Irene was horrified. She had been raised in a very sheltered, religious home and couldn't understand how God could allow such terrible things to occur. She wanted to turn her back on God, to leave her faith. But then she realized something; God gives everyone a free will, to choose either good or evil. The Nazis had obviously chosen evil. What would her choice be?

Irene already knew the punishment for helping Jews. She had seen and heard the warning many times, on posters and loudspeakers broadcasting in the street: "Whoever helps a Jew shall be punished by death." Irene made a decision. She told God that if she had an opportunity to help the Jews, she would, although it meant risking her own life . . .

Excerpt from "Irene Gut: Only a Young Girl" from Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue.

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