When a man sought out a doctor in Poland with a unique request, it changed the war for many Jewish people who were being held captive by the Nazis. This man was one of thousands of Polish people who were forced by the Nazi occupiers to work in German labor camps.
He was on a 14-day leave to visit his family, but his time was running out. He was desperate to escape his work at the camp, but he knew that if he did not return he and his family would be hunted down and sent to a concentration camp- often a death sentence in many cases. He toyed with the idea of suicide but came up with a solution that would spare his life and prevent him from returning to the camp.
A Solution For One Man, Saved Thousands
He knew that if he had a serious disease, verified by a doctor, he wouldn't be forced to return to work. That's when 2 doctors stepped up to help the man. They offered him an injection, which is accepted. The doctors then drew a sample of his blood and sent it to a German lab.
Shortly after, they received a telegram that indicated the patient was "Weil-Felix positive - the man had tested positive for typhus. This telegram proved that the man had an infectious disease and would be released from his work duties at the camp. He was also free from any future detention, as were his family members that he had come into contact with.
After typhus wrecked havoc in the trenches during World War I, the Nazis were terrified of a possible outbreak among their soldiers. Doctors were required to report any suspected cases of the disease so that Polish people could be quarantined and spared detention. Jews however, were executed.
The doctors, however, did not actually make their patient sick. Even in desperate times, that would be unthinkable to someone who's job is to heal. Instead this was their own spin on "faking sick", meant to shield their patients and neighbors from persecution from the Nazi occupiers.