Searching for Augusta: The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne

findingaugusta

This documentary starts in Belgian Congo where Augusta Chiwy was born in 1921 and ends in Belgium where she died in 2015.  She was 94 years old.  The center of the story is about this courageous and heroic Belgian nurse who volunteered to help the sick and dying soldiers during World War II during the siege of Bastogne.  She worked alongside an U.S. Army physician, Dr. John Prior, and Belgian nurse, Renee Lemaire. 

There is a saying that great things come in small packages.  Augusta would fit into this category.  She was a short woman, but very determined.  She was humble and did not speak of her bravery long after the war ended.  This changed when she met Martin King, a British historian.  He was able bring her from the shadows for his book Voices of the Bulge.

The documentary is one of the most powerful I’ve seen in a while.  It uses beautiful charcoal illustrations, conveying the moods and emotions of the time, and is just as powerful as if actual pictures were used. The relationship between John and Augusta convinces me certain people are destined for each other, even if for a short time.

Martin King recognized great strength and beauty in this heroine.  She was recognized for her service by receiving the Order of the Crown (Belgium) and Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service (USA).  This story is something special as it touches upon ugly realities including war and racism, but does it in such as way that you leaves you thinking there is more good in people than bad.

augustachiwy

Trailer by Martin King/Photo by Wikipedia

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