Why didn’t I do more?

Published December 27, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

    Nelly Favis-Villafuerte
Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

Sometime in 1889, a millionaire-industrialist said that “the life of a wealthy person should have two periods: “A time of acquiring wealth and a time of distributing it.” I believe that this statement applies not only to the wealthy but to all of us. Simply because all of us are blessed with wealth in one form or the other. Not only wealth in the form of money and other financial resources, but wealth in the form of time and wealth in the form of our talents, abilities, and skills.

This article is all about “distributing our wealth.” About the grace of giving. About making a life by what we give. Because giving is living. Because giving is honoring our Lord God. Because we should stop giving only when our Lord God stops giving to us. After all, we cannot take our money, our possessions and other material wealth to heaven – but definitely, we can send our material wealth ahead of us.

In case we have forgotten about the joy of giving, this holiday season is a good time to refresh our minds about giving. And let me share with you the story of Oskar Schindler, a German, who used the same talents that made him a successful businessman to save more than 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust – and gave them a second chance at life. The Holocaust is the term applied to the genocide of minority groups of Europe and North Africa during the World War II by the Nazis in Germany and their collaborators. During Hitler’s time, the Jews of Europe were the biggest group of victims of the Holocaust.

Schindler started as a war profiteer. Through army contracts and exploitation of cheap labor, Schindler amassed a fortune. He lived in high style. An unlikely role model to sacrifice his war profits and his life to save hundreds of Jews who were then confined in ghettos. But Schindler ultimately followed a new direction. Enter Act Two of his life. Exit Act One. A new self is born, highlighted by acts of courage. Schindler ended his life by spending millions and risking his life to save Jews, his workers he referred to as “my children.” Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that Schindler was born just to carry out his extraordinary and courageous wartime deeds for the Jews. Schindler died penniless. But he earned the everlasting gratitude of the Schindler Jews (today there are more than 7,000 descendants of the Schindler Jews living in US and Europe, many in Israel). Today, the word Schindler is a household word for courage – a hero who saved hundreds of Jews from Hitler’s gas chambers.

Let me share with you an incident demonstrating Schindler’s passion to give part of himself to help the Jews. This is reproduced from a story found in a book by a certain J. Morgan. Schindler’s passion is capsulized in his statement: “I could have done more.”
“The film Schindler’s List chronicled the heroic efforts of a German industrialist named Oskar Schindler. Through his unselfish activities, over a thousand Jews on the trains to Auschwitz were saved. Although the film, even on television, has some very graphic and disturbing scenes, the message itself is profound.
“After Schindler found out what was happening at Auschwitz, he began a systematic effort to save as many Jews as he could. For money, he could buy Jews to work in his factory which was supposed to be a part of the military machine of Germany. On one hand, he was buying as many Jews as he could, and on the other hand, he was deliberately sabotaging the ammunition produced in his factory. He entered the war as a wealthy industrialist; by the end of the war, he was basically bankrupt.
“When the Germans surrendered, Schindler met with his workers and declared that at midnight they were all free to go. The most emotional scene of the film was when Schindler said goodbye to the financial manager of the plant, a Jew and his good and trusted friend. As he embraced his friend, Schindler sobbed and said, “I could have done more.” He looked at his automobile and asked, “Why did I save this? I could have bought 10 Jews with this.” Taking another small possession he cried, “This would have saved another one. Why didn’t I do more?”

Have a joyful day!
(For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: [email protected])