February 12, 2017
Heroes are often not seen or known. Good deeds are often not recognized, nor or they necessarily dramatic. I share this story with you to remember that simply doing the right thing can be heroic.
Connie's story continues in Strasbourg...
The troops advanced into Strasbourg. When the nurses arrived in Strasbourg, they were assigned to one of the hospitals that had been run by the German forces. To their surprise, they found in the baby nursery only male babies. There were no female babies in the hospital. The nursery was immaculately clean. There were two babies to a crib. The only identification visible was a sign on each crib that stated, “Hitler’s babies.” Evidently, their destiny was predetermined as soldiers for a future army.
At some point in Connie’s journey, a German officer was captured as a prisoner of war. He needed a transfusion of blood. The head medic told Connie she was to take care of this officer as she was a Catholic and would not let him die; that she would “do the right thing.”
When the time came for the transfusion, a disturbance occurred. The German officer was offended that the blood of an Afro-American soldier was being used. The German officer threw things at Connie. She said suddenly every gun in the infirmary was pointed at the officer. He calmed down and accepted the blood.
They continued on through Germany and arrived at Dachau outside Munich. Connie said she was one of the first people to enter the concentration camp immediately following the military liberation. She said she did not enter the camp by the main gate, which is often pictured with the motto “Arbeit Mach Frei” (Work Sets You Free). She said she entered the camp by means of a side bridge and could see a kind of canal beneath her as she entered the gate. She said there were bodies in the canal of people who had died during the battle for the camp, and perhaps of some who had tried to escape.
Connie passed through the residential and administrative buildings of the concentration camp. The area had been landscaped and she said it looked rather innocent. She wondered if she were in the right place. Then turning at the end of the residential street she could look down and could see the crematories still burning human bodies. She felt she had to go look at this and was stunned and shocked by the sight.
The work of helping the survivors then began.