8. Holocaust Heroes Were Saved From The Bosnian Genocide
When the Germans invaded Sarajevo in 1941, the Kavilio family were sure their days were numbered. They were Jews, and the Nazis were approaching. They needed to get out.
A Muslim friend, Mustafa Hardaga, invited the Kavilios to hide out in his home and then helped them escape the country. With the help of the Hardagas, every member of the Kavilio family got out safely—except for the father, Josef Kavilio.
Josef got caught by the Germans and was put to work in a chain gang. Again, though, he was saved by the Hardagas. Mustafa’s wife Zejneba snuck him food, helped him break free, and let him hide in their house once he was loose. Then they helped him get out the country and reunite with his family.
Over 50 years later, the Hardagas were still in Sarajevo when the Bosnian War began. It soon turned into a genocide in which 8,000 Muslims were massacred.
The Hardagas likely would have died there, but Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, knew about their story. As soon as the genocide began, the organization pulled strings to get the Hardagas into Israel. They returned the favor they’d given the Kavilios and saved a Muslim family from genocide.
7. A Man Survived An Undiagnosed Disease By Giving Blood
Jim Becker started donating blood because he was a dedicated Green Bay Packers fan. He couldn’t fit tickets to their games into his budget, so he justified buying them by donating blood. He donated a pint of blood every chance he got and rewarded himself for his good deed by using the money to buy tickets to an NFL game.
Donating blood, it turned out, was the only reason he lived.
In 1975, after more than 20 years of regularly donating blood, Becker found out that he had hemochromatosis, a disorder that creates a toxic buildup of iron in the organs, usually treated with bloodletting. Becker had likely had the disease for close to 20 years, but he’d been accidentally treating it the entire time by giving blood.
After his diagnosis, he was given proper treatment by medical professionals, but Becker wouldn’t have lived long enough to get diagnosed if he hadn’t given blood. He donated blood hoping it would save someone’s life—and, by chance, saved his own.