Hearing a boxer utter the term “boxing is my life” is pretty commonplace these days. But finding a boxer who is literally fighting for his life is rare.
During World War II Jewish men were forced to box on Saturday night for their lives. Winners would receive extra food. Losers would receive a slow death in a gas chamber.
Thus was the situation Jewish boxer Samson Abrams found himself in.
Under constant threats of torture and death from Krakow concentration camp Commandant Rudolf Hoss and Dr. Josef Mengele, Samson was forced to fight for entertainment.
But Samson wasn’t just fighting for the bemusement of Mengele, Hoss and the rest of the German officers. He was fighting for the lives of his family.
Although his time in Auschwitz was mired in death and misery and the loss of several family members, Abrams reaffirmed his faith in God. His belief and love for God was rekindled after a meeting with Catholic priest Maximilian Kolbe.
The plight of Samson and his family in Auschwitz can be traced back to one fateful moment in 1943 when the 1936 Olympian boxer came to the aid of a young Jewish boy being beaten by Nazi guards.
It didn’t take long for the Nazis to discover the boy’s savior was Sampson. A short time later Samson and his family found themselves on their way to Auschwitz.
Author Shawn Hoffman brilliantly illustrates Samson’s struggle with his faith and eventual reconciliation with God in his book: “A Savior Will Rise”.