I Never Stopped Believing

Eva Saxl - Jackson Heights, New York
Broadcast during the 1950s
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I believe that it is important to be brought up with a firm belief in the good. I was fortunate in this respect. My parents not only gave me a happy home, but they had me study half a dozen foreign languages and made it possible for me to travel in other countries. This made me more tolerant and helped me to bridge many difficulties in later life.

Soon after I had married, my husband and I left our native Czechoslovakia and went to live in Shanghai, China. Here was a really international city. People of all races and creeds lived and worked together. As everywhere, there were good and bad people. I found out that most people are kind and good. But in the Orient, one cannot always be certain. Many people do not show their true character openly. Often it is difficult to strike the chord that will get a harmonious response. But when we spoke Chinese, we could strike these chords. In return, the Chinese taught us much about their philosophy of life.

In Shanghai, in 1941, when I was only twenty years old, the doctors discovered that I had diabetes. It was a terrible shock, because diabetes is incurable. But it can be controlled by insulin. Although this drug was not manufactured in China, there were ample stocks of imported insulin available. This enabled me to continue a normal, happy life.

Then bombs fell on Pearl Harbor and the Japanese occupied Shanghai. The import of insulin was cut off. Before long, there was not enough for the diabetics. I was on a starvation diet to keep my insulin requirements as low as possible. But my meager supplies soon scraped bottom. Many diabetics had already died, and the situation became desperate. Throughout all of it, I never stopped believing that with the help of God and my husband’s love and care, I would survive.

I continued to teach in Chinese schools. My faith and my husband’s never-ending efforts to get the manufacture of insulin started gave me courage. Buffalo pancreas was secured, and in a small laboratory the production of insulin was attempted. I served as the human guinea pig on which it was tested. I’ll never forget the day when my husband gave me the first injection of the new insulin, which had worked on rabbits. It helped! Can you imagine our happiness and relief?

But there were still other things to worry about. Tropical diseases, inflation, and the Japanese military. Oh yes, also American B-29s. Once, they hit the power plant and cut off our electricity. Without it, no insulin could be made. These were difficult times indeed!

Besides my trust in God, I derived the greatest strength from the deep love and complete understanding between my husband and me. And next to that was the kindness and help of many, many friends of many nationalities. Even some Japanese civilians, although their country was at war with us, helped whenever they could.

To me, who lived under enemy occupation, freedom has a special meaning. My dreams came true when we were sailing toward the United States, where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the rights of every human being.

Therefore, this country—of people from many lands—has so quickly become my cherished home. In it, I believe.