Nathan pushed Nonna into the ditch. Within moments, she heard Nathan’s mother scream his name, then Nathan’s small, lifeless body fell on top of Nonna, still holding the bread she had given him earlier. Covered in mud and Nathan’s blood, Nonna held very still, too afraid to move or breathe.
Within minutes the sound of gun-fire ended and all became quiet. Nonna climbed up from her grave, in shock, and made her way back to the train where she had last seen her mother.
This is a paraphrased segment of a book two of my friends have written. The Secret Holocaust Diaries- The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister, by Carolyn Tomlin and Denise George, Tyndale House Publishers is the story told by Nonna through her diaries after her death. http://secretholocaustdiaries.com/
When Germany invaded Russia, Nonna was about nine years old. At one point, her mother, now widowed, decided the only thing left to do was to go to Germany and work in the factories. Receiving a ticket, she and Nonna, boarded a train bound for Germany. They soon discovered that their situation ranked slightly above the Jews, who were in the cattle cars at the end of the train.
During one of the stops, Nonna discovers Nathan, a four-year-old boy with sunken eyes from exhaustion and starvation. Nonna determines that she will give this boy some of her stale bread. As she does, the cattle car doors are opened and Nonna finds herself caught up in the rush of Jews running, with dogs chasing them, and baton swinging guards yelling at them to run into the field.
In the field, there are Jewish men digging ditches. All the people are lined up facing the ditch and the execution begins; One bullet in the back of the head and they fall into the ditch.
Nonna’s life was saved because of the actions and the blood of someone else. It reminded me that as Christians, we too are saved because of the actions and the blood of someone else.
For it is not I who lives but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20.
I now try to live my life each day remembering that He took my sentence of death so that I could live my life reflecting His image.