The subtitle for the paperback edition is The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Escape from a Siberian Labour Camp and His 3-Year Trek to Freedom.
This German movie, based on the true experiences of Cornelius Rost, chronicles the survival and endurance of a German POW.
We see Clemens Forrell (his cover name) at mass with his family. Then he leaves for war, kissing his pregnant wife and young daughter. Soon we find him crowded in freezing boxcars of German POWs, headed to Siberia.
The Russians brutalize prisoners in the mine labor camp. Clemens Forrell's first escape attempt fails. His Russian captors punish him, then his comrades in the mine brutally beat him. He nearly dies.
A German doctor who is dying of cancer nurses him back health. When Clemens is well enough to return to the mines, the doctor shares quick advice on how to escape. He gives him a few supplies and tools. That night, Clemens begins his trek on foot across a remote area in Siberia.
The journey home
Clemens eludes his canine and Russian pursuers because he heeds the doctor's advice and heads north through the snow.
On his three year journey home, Clemens faces challenges in many forms -- weather, wolves, robbers, and his own fears. He endures unbelievable hardships. Determination, prayers and unexpected friends help him.
It is not a coincidence that the movie ends with Clemens hugging his daughter and wife in the sanctuary near his home. Faith is an important element of the story.
Inspiring examplesI learn from stories of people who overcome difficult circumstances. These types of stories inspire me to keep going through my own challenges.
Watching Clemens deal with his situation with faith and determination was humbling. My own trials are so small compared to those he endured.
We all have challenges of one sort or another. It is easy to lose perspective until we're reminded of the situation of others and of the things we take for granted. In his time, God helps us through an answered prayer, timely provisions or the kindness of another.
Gratitude changes perspectives and frees the spirit. Faith helps us to our feet, so we can keep walking.
Can you hike through your wilderness to a better future? What hope beacons you to keep traveling? Please share in the Comments.