Midwife Who Saved Hundreds of Newborn Babies from Nazis to be Honored

Midwife Who Saved Hundreds of Newborn Babies from Nazis to be Honored

By Patrick B. Craine

ROME, September 29, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The late Polish midwife Stanislawa Leszczynska will be honoured in a display at the 5th World Prayer Congress for Life in Rome next month for her heroic efforts in saving hundreds of newborn babies from a brutal end at Auschwitz.

Before she arrived at the camp in April 1943, all the newborns of prisoners in the infamous Nazi concentration camp were drowned and allowed to be ripped apart by rats before his or her mother’s eyes.

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But, as Matthew M. Anger reports in his article ‘Midwife at Auschwitz’, Leszczynska refused to carry out the Germans’ order to kill the babies – even opposing the infamous Dr. Mengele – and, amazingly, was allowed to carry on unimpeded.

During her time at Auschwitz, Leszczynska delivered over 3,000 babies.  Half of those were murdered and another thousand died from the horrible conditions in the camp.  But those with blond hair and blue eyes, about 500, were sent to be raised as Germans, and another 30 survived the camp.

In her ‘Raport from Auschwitz,’ Leszczynska described how the pregnant women were plagued with intense hunger and extreme cold, and faced a severe lack of medicine and water.  She and others had to work day and night to keep away the rats, which would gnaw off the noses, ears, fingers, and feet of the sick.  “Rats with their diet of human flesh grew to sizes of large cats,” she said.

During Leszczynska’s entire time at the camp, no mother or baby died under her care. Asked by her supervising doctor to report on the death rate, she reported this fact to his astonishment.  “Lagerarzt looked at me in disbelief,” she recounts.  “Even the most sophisticated German clinics at universities, he said, could not claim such a success rate.”

While she suggested in her ‘Raport’ that “the emaciated organisms were too barren a medium for bacteria,” Anger reports that her children and other inmates called it a miracle.

Leszczynska was able to use a secret tattoo under the newborns’ armpit to help many of the families reunite after the war.  “As long as a newborn was together with the mother, motherhood itself created a ray of hope. Separation with the newborn was overwhelming,” she said.  “The thought of a possibility of future reunion with their children helped many women go through this ordeal.”

The cause for Leszczynska’s beatification in the Catholic Church is underway. The Stanislawa Leszczynska Foundation, led by members of her family, is working on a feature film about her life.

The 5th World Prayer Congress for Life, organized by Human Life International and a number of other major pro-life organizations, will be held in Rome from October 5th to 10th, featuring many of the major figures in the worldwide pro-life movement and various high-level Vatican officials.

LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen will address the Congress on how to communicate the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality in a hostile culture.

Click here to register to attend the Congress.

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Major Rome Pro-Life Conference Brings out Vatican Heavy Hitters
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/aug/10081103.html

via Midwife Who Saved Hundreds of Newborn Babies from Nazis to be Honored.

The most amazing part of the story was not the fact that no mother or baby died under or that despite a confrontation with Nazi officials Leszczynska was allowed to continue her work, it was the fact that through her efforts the power of the Three Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope and Love) were manifest.

Let’s reread the paragraph:

Leszczynska was able to use a secret tattoo under the newborns’ armpit to help many of the families reunite after the war.  “As long as a newborn was together with the mother, motherhood itself created a ray of hope. Separation with the newborn was overwhelming,” she said.  “The thought of a possibility of future reunion with their children helped many women go through this ordeal.”

What is it that we see? Leszczynska and the families of these newborns had faith in her work and decision to use secret tattoos as a marker to identify separated children. In turn, this faith was rewarded with hope. Hope that if a child was separated from its mother they would be found and reunited. Love was the fuel that kept both the faith and the hope alive and present to these persons.

The same applied to those mothers who remained with their children. Again, the tattoos served as back up in case there would occur separation. But more importantly, it was the presence and work of Leszczynska as an exhibition of her own faith that fostered the same in her patients. Just like before, hope was the fruit of this faith – a hope that the will of God would be carried out for the good. And as always, it is love that fueled both the faith and the love of these mothers who were able to stay with their children.

It is as Saint Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:

[1] If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. [2] And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. [3] If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
[4] Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; [5] it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [6] it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. [7] Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
[8] Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. [9] For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; [10] but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. [11] When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. [12] For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. [13] So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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