Friday, December 5, 2014

A Spirit That The State Could Not Defeat

By Chris Rossini

I'd like to share a story of survival. It's a very important story to me, because without it, I wouldn't be here today. It's a story about my late grandmother, and how she was able to survive the government-created destruction known as World War II.

My grandmother was 100% Polish and living in Poland at the time. Obviously, for those who know the history of World War II, it goes without saying that Poland was not the place to be.

My grandmother was a young girl when the Nazis came to her house and literally kidnapped her from her family. She was taken to work in a factory where her job was wash fruit that would later be distributed to Nazi soldiers. Her hands were in ice water all day, washing fruit.

My grandmother was a very attractive young lady, so much so that a Nazi
General picked her to leave the factory and come home to basically be a nanny to his family. Of course, "nanny" is a euphemism. She was a slave. But the forced work was a step-up from having her hands buried in ice-cold water in a factory.

My grandmother did not, however, live under the same conditions as the family she was forced to work for. They made her sleep in the attic. She said they gave her one blanket, and at night it got so cold, and the blanket got so stiff, that she felt as if she were covering herself with a piece of cardboard.

My grandmother was a very spiritual person. Through the entire government-created tragedy that she was being put through, she prayed constantly. She never stopped praying. It got her through each day. Sadly, the days would get even tougher.

One day, while she was still up in the attic, Russian troops stormed into the Nazi General's house. The Russian troops did not go into the attic and did not know that my grandmother was there. However, the fear she experienced must have been off the charts as she had to listen to the troops rape the women that were in the house below her.

I do not know what happened to the Nazi General and his family, but after the Russian troops came through the house was empty. My grandmother, at some point, found the courage to come out of the attic and make a run for it. She escaped the house. However, she had no ID on her, or anything else for that matter.

She ended up hiding in a barn. I don't remember how long she was in the barn, but I believe it was a couple of days. While in there, she could hear bombs being dropped in the vicinity. She said that she prayed nonstop.

Then the miraculous occurred.

While in the barn, a carriage came by, and the people in the carriage were speaking Polish. My grandmother ran out to this family, telling them of her situation, and how she had nothing on her. No papers. No ID. Nothing.

As fate would have it, this Polish family had lost their daughter in the war, and they had the daughter's papers with them, the very papers that my grandmother would use to get the heck out of there. She said the carriage ride out was brutal. They had to drive over dead bodies and unbelievable destruction.

She made it....and years later, when Communism was spreading, she and her family (which included my Mom) made it to America too.

Growing up as a kid, my grandmother's story wasn't revealed to me. Even though I was very close with her, it's as if she was sheltering me from how bad governments can become. Only later would I find out the details, and my experiences with her, while growing up, started to make a lot of sense to me.

For example, she often complained about her hands. I remember her vividly clenching her hands in pain at times. I was told that it was arthritis or something. Now I understand that it was from her time in the factory with them buried in freezing-cold water.

My grandmother also drilled into me certain ideas. Over-and-over she would tell me to "Always stay with God" and (while punching the air like a boxer) she would say "Push yourself forward. Always forward. Never look back. Push yourself forward".

As a kid, I heard her words, but I didn't understand why she would always be telling me these things. Needless to say, as I matured, I got it.

The ideas of libertarianism would cross my eyes for the first time just a few years after she passed from this Earth. She never talked about government, politics, or liberty. Yet, when I first started to contemplate the ideas of Liberty, they felt as natural to me as if I were putting two Legos together.

I know she'd be extremely proud me, as I am of her and her unbelievable story of survival. I'm so happy to now share it with others, who I know will take pleasure in reading it.

My Grandmother was a Spirit that The State could not defeat.


  1. As Chris's father in law, I can say that his grandmothers spirit, determination and character has been passed down quite nicely!

  2. Truly blessed you shared with us. Nothing can defeat the human spirit. Prayer really dues work. Your best work yet!