After being taken as a prisoner of war, first he lost track of his family, and then he received word that his wife and children were dead. His life lost all meaning and everything seemed hopeless. That was until a miracle of fate brought him happiness again.
During World War II, there was a man named Martin Wall, who was taken as a prisoner of war in a Siberian prisoner camp. He was forced to leave his homeland of Ukraine, leaving behind his wife Anna and their little son Jacob. Martin and his family were separated for so long that they lost track of each other. During their separation, unbeknown to Martin, his wife Anna gave birth to their second child, daughter Sonia.
A few years passed by before Martin was released. He left the camp a shell of the man he was, physically and mentally exhausted and aged beyond his years. He was covered in scars but no lasting wounds were worse than his newly attained infertility.
After being released from prison, Martin immediately began the process of looking for his wife and children. Eventually, he received the bad news from the Red Cross that they had died on the way to Siberia. Martin was in instant distressed and sadly remained unaware that he had ever fathered a daughter at all.
In actual fact, shortly after Martin was taken to prison, Anna was fortunate enough to have fled with her son Jacob to Germany. There she met a nice couple, who owned a farm and were willing to provide lodging to Anna and her boy. Together, they lived there peacefully. She helped them on the farm and with the cleaning. It was there that she gave birth to her daughter, Sonia. Anna never gave up on her belief that, as long as Martin was alive, they would one day reunite and embark on a new life together. But, life is full of unexpected things.
A few years later, the further devastations of the War brought Germany to the brink of failure. Anna and her son believed there would be an opportunity to reunite with Martin.
However, what Anna and her children could never have expected was that the Soviet Army would gather up all of the migrant people (like them) and bundle them into crowded ships like animals for slaughter. They promised to take them home but instead took them to deadly concentration camps in Siberia.
This was the final blow that devastated Anna, she finally lost all hope and fell into a deep depression. Eventually, this depression led to her falling seriously ill. She knew that she couldn’t go on any longer. All she could do was desperately pray, day after day, ‘I beg my Goodness! Please protect my two unfortunate children!’
One day, Anna called Jacob to her side and said, “My son, I am seriously ill, I probably won’t make it to tomorrow. I will be in heaven, but still watching over you. Jacob, you have to promise me one thing, that you will never abandon your sister, Sonia.”
Early the following morning, Anna peacefully left her body. Her body was taken on the back of a cart to a cemetery filled with anonymous graves. The two children were immediately taken by train to a nearby orphanage.
Martin, who was still mourning the harrowing loss of his family, was drowning himself in despair. He was now working as a free man but like an ox, as a farm hand.
One morning, Martin met Greta, a girl who was working at the same farm as he was. Greta would smile kindly at him whenever they crossed each other’s paths. Martin did not remember at first that this optimistic and clever girl was an old classmate of his. Through many years of ups and downs, the traumas of war and endless uncontrollable circumstances, they still somehow both ended up on the same farm together. Under the guise of their deep grief, they both felt that this must be their destiny.
Soon after, they were wed. Martin felt like his life finally had meaning again and together they were extremely happy. There was however one dark cloud still hanging over them, Greta longing for a child to love and care for.
One day, Greta said to her husband, “Martin, there are many children in the orphanage, it feels only right for us to adopt one”.
Martin replied in violent protest, “Greta, why would you have such a thought, I can’t bear any more loss, do you understand?”
It is safe to say that Greta was extremely disappointed.
After many months of persuasion, born of her strong desire to become a mother, Greta finally convinced Martin. One morning, Martin said to Greta, “Go to the orphanage and adopt a child. Go alone, I cannot bear to see them all there alone”.
Greta was overjoyed and immediately boarded the train to the orphanage.
Greta walked down the long, dark hall of the orphanage, gazing at the children lined up for her inspection. Seeing the sad faces and pleading eyes of the children in front of her, Greta wanted to open her arms and take each and every one of them home, but she knew that this was impossible.
Slowly, a shy but smiling child began to walk towards her. Greta knelt down and rubbed the child’s head.
“Little girl, would you like to come with me? You can come to a place where you would have both a father and a mother?”
“Of course,” she said beaming, “but please wait, I have to call my brother. We have to go together, I can’t leave my brother behind.”
Greta felt extremely anxious, as she helplessly shook her head.
“But I can only take you.”
“No, I want to go with my brother. We had a mother before and when my mother died, she told my brother not to abandon me. We can never be separated.”
Greta felt strongly that she didn’t want to choose any other child, she just knew inside herself that this was ‘her’ child. However, she thought that she had to go back to negotiate with Martin.
When Greta came home, she again pleaded with Martin.
“Martin, there’s something I want to talk to you about,” Greta began delicately. “We have to adopt two children because the child I chose has an older brother and she cannot leave him.”
“Greta, why don’t you choose another child, rather than insisting on this girl? In my opinion, it is best not to choose anyone,” Martin replied, now increasingly frustrated.
Martin’s words hurt Greta so much that she didn’t even want to go back to the orphanage. Seeing Greta’s sadness, he felt a surge of compassion in his heart. Love finally won out.
This time, Martin and Greta went to the orphanage together, Martin also wanted to meet the little girl. She came out to the main hall to greet them, but this time, she was holding the hand of her brother. He was a skinny boy, who looked very weak, but his eyes were filled with kindness and honesty. At this moment, she opened her eyes wide and gently asked Greta, “Have you come back to pick us up?”
Greta had not yet answered, but before she could the boy standing beside the little girl said, “I promised my mother that I would never abandon my sister. When my mother died, I swore it. So, unfortunately, my sister can not go with you.”
Martin quietly observed these pitifully adorable children from a few steps back. A moment later, he declared firmly, “We accept both of these children.”
Martin was deeply moved by the frail skinny boy and his dedicated love for his sister.
So, Greta took the hand of each child and took them to collect their clothes. Meanwhile, Martin went to the office to file the adoption paperwork. After Greta picked up the children’s belongings, she took the two of them to the office. There, they found Martin awkwardly standing, his face as white as snow and his hands furiously trembling, he was seemingly unable to sign the adoption papers.
Greta asked in a panic, “Martin! What happened to you? Martin?”
“Greta, look… at these names,” Martin stammered in response.
Greta took the adoption papers bearing the names of two children. On them clear as day was written, ‘Jacob Wall; Sonia Wall, Mother: Anna (Bartel) Wall; Father: Martin Wall.’
“…Greta, these two children are my own children! One was the son I thought had died a long time ago, the other one I have never even met!”
Martin was moved beyond words. Full of tears, he knelt down and hugged the two kids tightly, and cried out, “A miracle, it’s amazing! Oh! Thank goodness, God bless us. Greta, if you had not asked me to adopt them, without your kind heart, I might not have been able to find this miracle.”
Martin’s goodwill, Greta’s kindness, and the responsible promise kept by little Jacob, all made a miracle their reality. Happiness really exists, as long as you believe and live true to your authentic self, the miracle of destiny can come to you in the future.
Source: Chicken soup for the soul