The world had gone insane! The war,
the big war, was destroying Europe and Asia. Hitler was doing his best to rid the world of non-Arians. All the men that were
able, volunteered. But what about the women? Many worked in the factories. But by 1943, the army had an auxiliary corps. Anita
(Nita) Bloom signed up to do her part. But, she had a small problem. She was Jewish. Although it was not done openly, many
people looked down on them. But, not all women have the strength and perseverance of Nita.
When Nita had finished high school,
she was ready to join the work force. But she soon learned, to quote Nita, “America was a great place, but not always
for the Jews.” Since the war was in need of men to fight, Nita enlisted. In those days women were not allowed to carry
guns or actually fight but by they could free up the men from the more mundane work to go to the front lines.
As Nita attended to her training,
she noticed a small cut on her thumb. A very gruff nurse’s aid lanced it. It was told it only a small cut, just keep
it bandaged. She was not treated as civilly as the other WAC’s because Jews were looked down upon, even in America.
The pain was almost unbearable, but it better not show. She was not about to let a sore thumb get her sent home. She was strong,
she could handle it.
Her small infection surged through
her body. By the time she made it to the hospital, it had settled in her spine. The doctors of the day did all they could
but it could not be cured. Soon she lost all feeling, all motion below the waist. By now Nita was totally bedridden but she
refused to stay that way. With the fortitude of a brick wall and the fighting spirit of a tiger, Nita learned how to use first
a wheelchair then leg braces. You could not keep this woman down!! Had antibiotics like penicillin been available, her life
would have taken a different but you can bet just as dramatic a turn. We all owe Nita Bloom Ornoff a big debt of gratitude
because her will to succeed also changed the laws of how vets are treated.
has penned a most compelling story of her private war within a war. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry but mostly you won’t
want to stop reading Beyond Dancing.