WWII Nurse Who Saved Hundreds of US Soldiers Dies

Augusta Chiwy: 'I would have done it for anyone'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 26, 2015 11:30 AM CDT
WWII Nurse Who Saved Hundreds of US Soldiers Dies
In this Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 file photo, Belgian nurse Augusta Chiwy gestures after receiving an award for valor from the US Army, in Brussels.   (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)

Augusta Chiwy was an American heroine, though she hailed from abroad. Chiwy, a wartime nurse who saved the lives of hundreds of American soldiers injured in the bloodiest battle of World War II, the Battle of the Bulge, died Sunday near Brussels at age 94. Born in what is now Burundi, she moved to Belgium at age 9 and planned to become a teacher, but switched to nursing when war erupted, reports the New York Times. Chiwy volunteered in an aid station in Bastogne, where wounded and dying US soldiers by the thousands were being treated by a single doctor from December 1944 through January 1945. The diminutive Congo-born nurse braved the gunfire, helping whoever she could.

Chiwy, portrayed as the character "Anna" in the book and TV series Band of Brothers, received a Belgian knighthood and a US award for valor in 2011. During the battle, Bastogne was heavily shelled and reduced to ruins. "What I did was very normal," Chiwy said as she received the US Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service in 2011. "I would have done it for anyone. We are all children of God." Historian Martin King wrote a book about her called The Forgotten Nurse and released a TV documentary last year about his efforts to tell her story. He notes that regulations at the time prevented black nurses from treating white soldiers, but a doctor circumvented that by emphasizing to the solders that she was a volunteer. "You either let her treat you or you die," he told them. (More World War II stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.