World-War II was almost over. Still, Hitler was unrelenting in his insane determination to exterminate Jews. A batch of around 20,000 Jews were in a concentration camp. Orders had come from Berlin to go ahead with their execution. However, the head person of the concentration camp was not willing to go ahead with this mindless killing of innocent people. But he had a serious problem on his hands. If he did not obey Hitler’s orders, his wife would be in mortal danger. She was living in Berlin at that time, teaching at the local university.
Hitler knew that some of his officers were not entirely convinced about his policy of the elimination of Jews. In order to ensure that there was full compliance of his orders, he had his secret police keeping track of family members of his officers. In case they did not carry out his orders, the family members were punished along with them.
This man at the concentration camp knew the consequences of flouting Hitler’s orders. He spoke to his wife and appraised her of his predicament. He knew well that his wife would be in mortal danger if he did not carry out his orders.
His wife promised to get back to him the next day. She said she was waiting for the results of some tests she has got done. Next day she called to say that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the brain and had little time to live. She had suffered from intense headache a few days before and had got herself examined. She had decided to call him once the results of the tests were out.
This is what she told her husband the next day, “War is coming to an end in a few days. If you do not go ahead with the execution of Jews there is a good possibility that they would escape this inhuman end. I am dying in any case. If you feel so strongly about these Jews and are prepared to stake your personal life for them you have my full support.”
The husband, heartbroken by the news about his wife, did not go ahead with the execution as planned. Once Hitler came to know about this, he sent his secret police to arrest this man’s wife. They couldn’t since she had committed suicide. She was perfectly healthy at the time of her death; she had made up the story of suffering from cancer. It was her inner strength that had led her to take this extreme step, proving that real bravery comes from within through conviction. All of us would do well to remember this.