On Saturday, February 20, Pope Francis went to Rome, Italy to personally visit Edith Bruck, a Jewish writer of Hungarian origin who lost most of her family from the Nazi persecution.
According to reports, Pope Francis was so deeply moved when he read Bruck’s interview about her and her family’s experiences during the Holocaust, he decided to pay her a visit. (Read: Catholics Place Statue of Mary on War-Damaged Church in Iraq)
“I have come here to thank you for your testimony and to pay homage to the people martyred by the insanity of Nazi populism,” Pope Francis told Bruck, who is now 90 years old.
“And with sincerity, I repeat to you the words that I spoke from my heart at Yad Vashem and that I repeat before every person who, like you, has suffered so much because of this: [I ask] forgiveness, O Lord, in the name of humanity.”
In a statement, the Holy See said that Bruck’s conversation with the Pope “revisited those moments of light with which the experience of the hell of the camps was punctuated and evoked the fears and hopes for the time in which we live, emphasizing the value of memory and the role of the elderly in cultivating it and passing it on to the young.”
As she recounts the darkest moments of her life, Bruck never failed to inspire hope in humanity and put value in those little acts of kindness that which she was given. (Read: Rajo Laurel Says Kindness Is Never Out of Fashion, and We Love Him for It!)
She shared her encounters with kind people who helped her, her family, and other victims amid their struggles.
Moments of Hope
In one instance, Bruck described her life in the ghetto— after she and her family were torn from their home. She mentioned a non-Jewish man who donated a cartload of food to those who were persecuted.
Later, she recalled a German soldier who threw his mess tin at her to be washed— but, she says, “he had left some jam at the bottom for me.” (Read: 5 Famous Refugees Who Made a Difference)
And as she was working to clean the officer’s ‘mess,’ Bruck recalled a cook who asked her name, and told her with a trembling voice, “I have a daughter your age.”
After this, the cook “pulled a comb from his pocket, and looking at my head of new-grown hair, he gave it to me,” Bruck recalled. “I had the sensation of finding myself, after so long, in the presence of a human being. I was moved by the gesture, which was life and hope.”
These stories of unknown heroes who— in small gestures— inspired big hopes among the poor, are what urged Pope Francis to come and meet Bruck. For more stories of inspiration amid hardships, click here.