Ernest Sterzer, survivor

Yesterday, Kayla Brown of Kayla’s Life Notes wrote a blog post titled “Just a Reminder…” and linked to the story of Ernest Sterzer.  Mr. Sterzer was diagnosed with diabetes (Type 1, though it wasn’t called that at the time) at the age of three, just a few short years after Dr. Banting’s discovery of insulin.  When he was thirteen, at the start of World War II, he and his family were captured by Nazis and he lived the hell they imposed throughout his teenage years.  Somehow, he survived this awful part of our world’s history.

I find this story so captivating; maybe it’s because of the diabetes angle, or maybe because certain branches in my own family-tree abruptly stop at this genealogical time-point.  Whatever the reason, it strikes a very personal chord with me.

I still can’t understand where Mr. Sterzer found the motivation to find a way to keep on going though the ordeal.  If it were me, I honestly think I would have decided one day to quit.  I know that’s not the message we are supposed to give to young people today, but these were times that are unlike any before, and the outlook was certainly bleak.  God willing, nothing like it will ever happen again.

His story, a first-hand and undated account, is written in simple words, but the subject matter makes it a very difficult read.  It’s available as a 9-page PDF posted on dLife’s site, and is also embedded below.  If you’ve got the stomach for it, it’s a worthwhile read. (If you don’t you may prefer dLife’s two-part video broadcast, linked here: Part 1, Part 2)

Posted on July 25, 2012, in Diabetes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow, Scott. Remember a while back you and I both coincidentally had posted about what it would be like to be stranded somewhere without our insulin …. I guess this is an extreme case of that scenario. That was a difficult read. But it definitely makes me grateful to live in a world where even though we may complain about insurance coverages, etc. at least we CAN get our meds. Makes me very thankful. Thank you for sharing!


    • Yes, I remember that. With this story though, to me, the diabetes aspect and the story of perseverance was secondary. What really astounds me, every time I read about this moment in history, is how some people can have such disregard for others and the disgraceful way people treated one another. That’s what sticks in my mind the most.



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