The Way Back

The Way Back is a movie set in 1941 in a Siberian gulag. A group of men, led by a former Polish soldier escape the gulag and trek 4,000 miles to India and freedom.

The main character is a young Polish man named Janusz. He was falsely accused of being a spy and saboteur against the Soviet regime. The movie opens with his frightened and obviously tortured wife testifying against him. A beaten Janusz looks at the officer leading the inquiry and asks, “What did you do to her?”

Toward the end of the movie, Janusz explains his motivation to return to Poland to the lone American in the group. “My wife was tortured to turn evidence against me. I know her. She will not be able to forgive herself–nor can she. I must do that. I have to get back so I can forgive her” (my paraphrase).

Can you imagine this? This is not a desire to seek out to be forgiven, nor is it a desire to hear someone’s apology. It is an incredible desire to provide what someone cannot provide for oneself: redemption.

I can think of someone else who had that same desire and who would go through a horrible journey from garden through the Via Dolorosa to a lonely hill called “Skull Hill” outside of the city of Jerusalem. It was a much shorter journey than from Siberia to India, and yet it was infinitely longer.

What thoughts come to you when considering the story of The Way Back?

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About Darryl Willis

Darryl has been working for non-profits for over 36 years. His current work takes him to Ukraine several times a year. He has fallen in love with the country and the people. Darryl writes poetry and his work has appeared in several online and print journals.
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