I’ve been thinking about Sophia. She was my mother’s roommate in a physical rehab hospital. We were visiting Mom. While there, I was given papers to sign and date. I asked the date. From Sophie’s bed came her first words spoken to us: “March 12.” After papers were signed, dated and dispatched, I walked to her bed and said, “March 12 must be meaningful to you.”

“March 12, 1938—the day Hitler and Nazis marched into our country—Austria.”

Over the next weeks we met her friends. An eclectic group. Sophia was legally blind, and still lived alone in an apartment where she baked Austrian delicacies. She was not allowed to return to her home and we sat next to her bed or walked with her as she wept in despair. Upon release from the rehab for a broken hip, she moved into a Jewish convalescent home, where we visited her. We loved her and were fascinated by her great gifts and her huge friend base.

Sophia told us her story. Her father, mother, brother and sister-in-law were in medical work. They were all sent to Auschwitz. Sophia survived.

On one of our visits with Mom, Sophia was having a hard day. We stood and sat next to her bed. “You are praying, aren’t you?” When we asked how she knew, she said her closest friend (no family left), a Catholic Nun came to visit her and prayed for her. “She made the sign of the Cross on my arm.”

As we left that day, I told her we shared a mutual friend.

“And who is that?”


“Ah.” In the deepest sorrow, she said in broken, mournful voice, “I think he has forgotten us.”

The anti-Semitism spreading in our country impacts us with the vocalized pain of our friend. I thought we fought that war, settled that issue, resolved not to forget. Has the world begun reverse evolution?

Lord, in Your mercy and kindness, do not forget us in the hour when we most need You. And for the extended families of Miss Sophia, we ask for Your presence!

Copyright 2021, D. Dean Benton

(This story told in Gone To Southwood, D. Dean Benton,

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