Sam Radford

February 2, 2022

What would keep me alive?

My German friend, Armin Ruser, wrote a blog post this week reflecting on the writing of Victor Frankl about his time in Auschwitz. This in particular stood out:

When [Frankl] once fell ill with typhoid fever during his detention in the camp, he began to [re]write parts of [his confiscated book] manuscript on notes. According to his own statement, this seemingly small action led to his heart not giving up.

And this is the quote from Frankl that Armin highlights:

In the Nazi concentration camps, it was observed that those who were waiting for a task at home had the greatest chance of survival.

Having a meaningful task, it seems, can be the difference between life and death. 

As Armin goes on to say in his post:

When I read this, I wondered if I had something like that would keep me alive in a comparable situation.

What a provocative thought! 

Do I? What would keep me alive if faced with circumstances like that?


Got some thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you—do hit reply or drop me a note.

@samradford |

About Sam Radford

Husband, father, lover of books, writer, tech geek, sports fan, and pragmatic idealist from Sheffield, England.