I remember the backstory of an elderly German Gasthause (Inn/tavern) owner who catered to the American military near the small base, in beautiful Bad Kreuznach, Germany, where I and my family were
Stationed in the late ‘70s.
He said his affection for the “yanks” began with an experience in the last days of WWII, when he was a small boy – six or seven, if I
remember right – scrounging in garbage cans in an alley for some scrap of something to eat, so that he and his mother and sister might stave off starvation a little longer.
had escaped most of the destruction visited on other places, but his older brothers and Father had been drafted into the War, and never returned. The Reich had already collapsed, Nazi Officials had abandoned their posts, and the Wehrmacht (the German army)
was in full retreat before advancing Allied forces. There were no markets, no food, no supplies, no functioning infrastructure… only defeat and desolation.
And, it was the day the
Americans arrived in Bad Kreuznach.
Nazi propagandists had long been warning the German people that the Allied forces would be a ravaging horde, raping and looting and murdering or enslaving
them, if they, the people, did not resist and defeat them.
So, the little boy he was then was terrified to look up and see an enormous, dirty and swarthy American soldier, carrying a giant
and fearsome-looking rifle at the ready, coming down the alley toward him. He said he was too terrified to run – he just froze, wide-eyed and trembling… waiting to be killed or brutalized.
Seeing him, the soldier slung his rifle over his shoulder, showed empty, open hands, and smiled, broadly. That was even more terrifying, he said, as he saw the smile as more of a snarl. In his deceived and terrified mind, the white teeth in the dark
and dirty face shown forth like a fierce animal’s bared fangs.
However, the soldier moved even closer to the hungry boy, still smiling and, gesturing a calming motion with one hand,
he reached into one of his many pockets and pouches with the other to bring out a huge bar of chocolate, which he then held out to the scared child.
My German friend relates he did nothing
but stand and tremble in fear and indecision, until the soldier, seeing how it was, tore off one end of the paper wrapper, releasing a mouth-watering sweet smell, and broke off a small piece of the high-energy food, then popped it in his own mouth. Murmuring,
“Ummmh – Goot”, he once again extended the treat towards the boy, who, hesitatingly, took it and tried a piece, himself.
As the delicious taste flooded his senses, other
soldiers arrived and produced, from somewhere, a medium sized box filled with some cans, an opener, and more paper-wrapped foodstuffs.
They gave it to him while saying many more words, but
the only one the boy really understood was “Hauptbahnhof” (Central train station). Finally, the Americans gestured and pointed in the direction of the station, then went on down the alleyway, while the little lad ran home with his treasures, to
share with his mother and sister.
He said that the food was strange to them and not particularly tasty (except for the chocolate), but they found out that more and better was being distributed,
by the very people they had been told to fear, at the town center and main train station, and he and his surviving family never again faced imminent starvation.
As he grew in up in “occupied”
and then independent and NATO-allied West Germany, he watched the American’s “Marshall Plan” help rebuild his country and saw many more American servicemen and women, and their families. He acknowledged meeting some “bad” Americans,
but overall, choose to believe the evidence that the best of them were very good people, indeed.
I think there’re many young people, today, starving for the truth about Christians and
Christianity, and not even knowing that that’s what’s causing that aching emptiness inside them. Their worldly overlords want to keep them from it… want them unexposed to actual and real Christian people and the truth
about the Christian Gospel, because their propaganda and lies about Christians and Christianity would then be revealed as being just that.
But we, as Christians, must also be better and be
bolder in reaching out to the world with goodness, not just condemnation of sin and worldly ideas. We, like Christ, must give to the world the good news of salvation and the nourishment of God's Love, not stand in judgment of it (see John 3:16-17). GOD Judges;
the Holy Spirit convicts of the truth of sin and Salvation; OUR job is to feed and love others as Christ fed and loved us (John 13:34-35), even when they think we and they are enemies, because he loved us while we were still His (Romans 5:10).
A warrior for the right must be a rescuer and a helper and more than a merely a conqueror (Romans 8:37).
Extend a hand of friendship and
kindness today, in some way, to one who may be starving for the truth, and not even know it; I’ll try if you will, and even if you don’t, and I’ll and pray for the efforts of us both; please join me.