I don't even know her real name but that does not matter. God does.
I was first introduced to her in the late 1970's when I read about her in a now out-of-print book entitled "Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy". My paperback copy of this book is so tattered that the front cover has fallen off. Still, I love this book! While Vera is not the main character in the book, rather she only comes into the story briefly, her story pierced my heart. It still does even today.
I don't even know if Vera is her real name. I suspect it is not because when this book was written, the true names of individuals were changed as well as some of the exact places and dates. This was done for the safety of the people who this book is about.
In the early 1940's during WWII, Vera lived with her husband and six children in a town in Slovene. Her husband was a doctor, she was a nurse and they were Germans. Naturally, they were viewed with suspicion by the townspeople. No one wanted anything to do with them.
Vera eventually became friends with her neighbor who was a Christian. Watching the life of her friend, she too came to know Christ and slowly, ever so slowly, she became friends with other villagers as well.
One night in early 1945, her husband told her that they would be leaving for Germany immediately. There were some things he needed to do and he would take the children with him. She was to pack a few necessities and meet them at an appointed place. She managed to make it there in time but when she got there, the car she heard wasn't driving toward her, it was driving away from her. Her husband, an atheist who had not been happy about her new-found faith had abandoned her. She was deliberately left behind.
Over the next four months, Vera devoted herself to serving the people of her adopted village. She cared for the sick and injured. She gave aid to those in need. When Yugoslavia was liberated in May, 1945 and the "enemies" were being rounded up and imprisoned, the villagers were sure that Vera would be safe. After all, wasn't she now one of them? Hadn't she lost everything just like they had? Hadn't she suffered also right beside them? Why, she had even nursed many partisans back to health. Surely she was in no danger.
They came for her in the dead of the night in June, 1945. They came so quietly that no one heard her taken from her bed. No one saw her walking down the stairs clad only in her nightgown and soft blue slippers with armed soldiers at her side. Her neighbors didn't know until the next morning when they heard the creaking of her door which had been left open and saw her shoes where she'd placed them the night before and saw the unmade bed. Then they knew.
Her friends eventually learned the details of her death. The prisoners had been divided up into groups. Vera should have been placed with Germans but by mistake she was placed with Yugoslavians. They lined up each group in rows... and shot them. Vera was singing in both German and Slovene and the name of the song she was singing was "God Is Love".
Here was a woman, abandoned in a hostile war zone by her husband while he supposedly fled to safety. At least he thought he was. Her beloved children were taken from her and she was taken from her home, her own bed nonetheless at gunpoint. She died without family or friends by her side and yet she is singing "God Is Love" even as she looked death squarely in the face. Will we?
This blog is part of a series entitled Those Who Counted The Cost... And Paid It