The First of the Many

This morning in a brief reflection on Downtown Radio, my thoughts focused on a gentleman I had never heard of until last week. I wonder if you have heard of him?

The life, and more specifically the death of Franciszek Honiok, radically affected the lives of millions of others including our own. According to the testimony of Alfred Naujocks at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial, on the night of August 31, 1939, Honiok was taken from a German concentration camp, where he, a German Silesian and supporter of Polish independence had been interned. He was given a lethal injection, dressed in a Polish uniform and shot. His body was transported to the town of Gleiwitz on the border of Poland and Germany, where, after a staged attack on a German radio station (pictured), his body was left outside. This was then used as proof that it was Poles who had attacked that installation, which, in turn, was cited as the final straw which forced Germany to invade Poland on this day 70 years ago.
This man, whose name I am sure was unknown to most, was the first of millions of casualties of that war. Many gave their lives voluntarily, if reluctantly in the service of their countries, but most, like this first victim, had no choice. And what was true in that conflict is true in every conflict, and our prayers should be with those who mourn the victims of that and every war, whether they gave their lives willingly or not, whether they were on “our side” or not, whether we know their names or not.
And whether or not we might be willing to give our lives for our country in time of war, may we all be prepared to give of ourselves wholeheartedly to prevent the need for war and conflict.
Blessed are the peacemakers, said Jesus, for they shall be called the sons of God.


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