World War II: In 1944, Fritz Vincken was a 12-year-old German boy who lived with his mother Elisabeth in a small cottage in the Ardennes Forest. On the evening of December 24, 1944 (during the Battle of the Bulge), three American soldiers were separated from their unit and found their way to this isolated cottage.
They were frozen and exhausted, so Fritz’ mother decided to let them in. Not long after welcoming the Americans, four German soldiers knocked at the door. They had lost their unit and needed a place to stay. Elisabeth agreed to let them in but firmly told everyone to put their weapons aside. Seeing that an American soldier was wounded, one of the German soldiers took out his first aid kit and treated him. That night, in the middle of a deadly battle, these seven soldiers had a peaceful and friendly Christmas dinner together. At one moment, Elisabeth stood up, picked up her Bible, and prayed for the war to end, and for all of them to survive.
The next morning, the Germans gave the Americans a compass and directions to find their unit. The seven men then said goodbye to each other and headed back to their lines. In 1995, Fritz (who was living in Hawaii and had become an American citizen) found one of the American soldiers. His name was Sgt Ralph Blank, and for years, he had been telling his Christmas story to everyone. Following their reunion, Fritz said: «When he told me: ‘Your mother saved my life’, it was the high point of my life. Now, I can die in peace. My mother’s courage won’t be forgotten and it shows what good will do».
Ralph passed away in 1999 in Maryland, and Fritz died in 2001 in Oregon.