The Russian translation of “Crucible of terror” was released in St. Petersburg, Russia, on July 5, 2007. As the author could not be present, he sent a letter, which was read by his representative to the 120 persons assembled at the occasion.
Max Liebster would like very much to be among us today. But at his age of 92, the journey from France to St. Petersburg, Russia, would have been too much for him.
So he has asked me to welcome you today in his behalf. In connection with the release of his book in the Russian language he especially wants to thank Mr. Dimitri Protsenko for the work that has gone into translating and publishing his biography in Russian.
The author wants me to convey to you these particular thoughts that are on his heart :
“My biography titled Crucible of Terror was released first in the United States. For Europe, the German, French and Spanish translators and I agreed on the title Beam of Hope During the Nazi Storm. Both titles are very fitting. Who, after all, does not know of the Nazi terror? It cost millions of lives !
When I close my eyes, I can still see how those Russian prisoners of war in Neuengamme concentration camp being murdered in most inhuman ways.
The camps were truly a crucial test for human values. Only he who held noble goals could summon the strength to retain his dignity, and thereby give living evidence that not all humans will become degraded to the level of animals. Such were the prisoners with the “purple triangle”—a true oasis. Again and again they struck me like a beam of hope. I finally realized that their spiritual strength to resist stemmed from their loyalty toward God and from their unshakable love for their neighbor. They were known as Bible Students; they lived as Jehovah’s Witnesses, always sharing their hope with their fellow man. Without that beam of hope during the six years I spent in five different camps, I certainly would have vanished in despair.
The murder of millions of Jews cannot be forgotten. I will not permit the voices of those who would deny or rewrite the past to win out. The story of the “purple triangles” must also be told so that it may sustain and strengthen those who face desperate situations of their own.
This is my personal greeting to all of you : May others take courage in the knowledge that hope can conquer despair!”