Prior Story     The Hero Project     Next Story
Click the image to see it larger in a new window
by Ben L
It was a nice day in Poland, Naum thought. Little did he know he would regret this day for the rest of his life. He looked down the road and saw a mob of soldiers charging towards him. They took him away. Naum had a bad feeling about this and he was right: things were going to be really, really bad.
Naum was taken on a train with many other Poles. After many hours, he got to Auschwitz, Poland where he saw endless numbers of red flags with black symbols in white circles. He looked more carefully and realized that the symbol was also on all the soldiers' clothing. He realized that some people didn't have the symbol and wore different uniforms. Those people were the prisoners. He shook his head in sorrow. He waited on line but wasn't sure what he was waiting for. At the front of the line, a soldier took out a needle and gave him a tattoo with a number that would be on his arm for the rest of his life.
Naum was assigned to a barrack. This was an area where Jewish prisoners lived in very tight quarters. Naum was a doctor and his job at Auschwitz was to take care of the prisoners in his barrack. This really meant that he had to see every Jew who complained he was sick or looked too weak to work at the camp. Naum realized that the Nazis had no use for the sick Jews and sent any sick prisoners to be killed in the gas chambers. So Naum had to either do what he was supposed to and send others to their death or risk his own life by misreporting information about the sick people and hopefully save many people. He decided to risk his life, every day he was in Auschwitz.
One day, after seeing one of his patients, Naum heard a knock on the door. It startled him. When opened the door and saw a Nazi soldier, he started trembling, worried that his misreporting had been found out. He held his breath and waited for the soldier to speak. The soldier said, "I hear you're a great great doctor," making Naum even more worried that he was being laughed at. Then the soldier said, "I need you to do something for me." This soldier and then many others asked Naum to treat them for their sicknesses. They gave him a supply of medicine to treat the Nazi soldiers. They weren't laughing at Naum at all. They knew he was a good doctor and they wanted his help.
Naum realized he had another way to save people. He helped the soldiers, but he took some of the medicines and supplies he got for soldiers and used them to help Jews.
When the war was over, Naum was one of the few people who knew how to treat the survivors who were starving. Many of those trying to help after the war fed people too much and their stomachs couldn't handle it, and actually they died from too much feeding. Naum knew that people had to be fed slowly and he saved even more lives in his work in a displaced persons camp where he was Medical Director.
I am proud to be related to Naum Wortman and wished I could have met him.