Unsung heroes

I think something is missing… please correct me if I am wrong.

There are unsung heroes in this world.

I have written a book about survivors from the concentration camps, and I have heard several stories about how young people were saved when they came to Auschwitz, often together with their whole family.

There were prisoners in Auschwitz  who were assigned to sorting and collecting the peoples belongings, to big warehouses called Kanada, but that was not all these prisoners did.

Some of them moved fast among the incoming prisoners, asking a girl that was holding a child for example if it was her child, and if the answer was no, a sibling, she was told to pass on the child to the mother or grandmother and come with him. A girl I know refused, and he slapped her face and made her go – and that saved her life.

A boy who arrived with his father, did not want to be separated from him, and he was also slapped by a man and never saw his father again, but he was saved.

The men from Kanada knew they were all going to the gas chambers.

I have never heard that these men were praised, I guess no one knows their names, or how many lives they saved that way.

I am thinking about other unsung heroes.

I have known a lot of people with HIV/AIDS, and all but two of them have passed away.

One man lives in the US,  and one man lives here in Sweden.

I interviewed him several times in the 80s, and he once told me that he had given up the medicines because they made him so sick, and it was not worth it, he said.

He wanted to enjoy his life as long as he could, so he took a chance – even if it meant he would die – but maybe that is what saved him! Until the new medicines came. He now lives a very good life, and I am sure he never expected that he would do that.

But so many others died, and there is something missing – or is it that I have missed it?

I am thinking about all the thousands of people that took part in medical trials, and suffered terrible side effects, and one did not know if it was all the diseases they got or the medicines that hurt them, and sometimes killed them.

And they were subjected to constant tests, they were real human guinea pigs.

A woman that I know was asked by a female doctor if they could make an autopsy on her son for research, and she said no – they had made so many tests on his body, there had been so many needles, they must leave him alone now – and the doctor told her that she should know that they could get access to the body anyway, but the mother insisted and said no! She followed her son’s body to the morgue, and she covered his body with roses and locked the coffin. She still keeps the key.

So many people took part in medical trials, and tried so many things, desperate to survive, and I am thinking about their sufferings and their sacrifices, and many many did not live to see the results.

And I wonder, has anyone officially said:

Thank you! We are so grateful! We can live today, because of you! Thank you!