Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Polish Pastor, A Jewish Doctor and A Gestapo Officer

From the pages of The Wall Street Journal comes the story of a Polish man named William E. Wallner who became a Lutheran minister in Prague. 

Author John Murray writes: "By 1939, Wallner was leading a Lutheran parish in Prague. Shortly after Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia, a doctor in Wallner's parish was sent to a Nazi concentration camp...The doctor, a Jewish convert to Christianity, encouraged his fellow prisoners 'to die bravely, with faith in their hearts.' As a result, the doctor became a target of Gestapo officers.

"Although struck with an iron rod until one of his arms had to be amputated, the doctor would not be quieted. Finally... 'one Gestapo officer beat the doctor's head against a stone wall until blood was streaming down his face.' Holding a mirror before the doctor, the Gestapo officer sneered: 'Take a look at yourself. Now you look like your Jewish Christ.'

"Lifting his remaining hand up, the doctor exclaimed, 'Lord [Jesus], never in my life have I received such honor—to resemble You.' Those would be his last words on Earth.

"Distraught by the doctor's proclamation, the Gestapo officer sought out Wallner that night. 'Could Pastor Wallner help him, free him from the terrible burden of his guilt?'

"After praying with him, Wallner advised, 'Perhaps God let you kill that good man to bring you to the foot of the Cross, where you can help others.' The Gestapo officer returned to the concentration camp. And through the aid of Wallner and the Czech underground, he worked to free many Jews over the years that followed." In fact, he helped save more than 350 Jewish children from death at Nazi hands."

The power of the risen Christ can transform lives -- a Polish minister, a Jewish doctor, a Gestapo officer. He can even change you and me.

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