Viewers of the highly acclaimed HBO TV series “Band of Brothers,” based on the Stephen Ambrose book by the same name, may remember an episode featuring a black nurse from the Congo named Ana. She is assisting a doctor who is caring for U.S. soldiers in a makeshift hospital in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.
In reality, Ana was Augusta Chiwy, the biracial daughter of a Congolese woman and a Belgian veterinarian. The Augusta Chiwy Foundation was established as a tribute to this courageous woman, whose story remained untold for decades following the end of World War II.
The idea was born out of the production of the documentary “Searching for Augusta - The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne,” which tells the story of Augusta’s heroic service in a U.S. military aid station during the Siege of Bastogne in the opening days of the Battle of the Bulge.
When the documentary was screened in Europe after it was completed in 2014, the film’s makers observed something interesting. Even though the events in the documentary had taken place nearly 70 years ago, its story of courage, compassion, commitment and humility resonated with audiences, from adults to even school-age children.
As Mike Edwards, director of the Emmy Award-winning documentary observed: “The story of Augusta’s service may be from another time, but the qualities she exemplified are timeless.”
The Augusta Chiwy Foundation was created to celebrate the strength of the human spirit and encourage selfless service to humanity through a combination of education and inspiration.
The Foundation seeks to create, produce and distribute documentary films which, like “Searching For Augusta,” tell the inspiring stories of individuals whose lives and actions reflect the principles and values of Augusta Chiwy.
Through their support, donors to the Foundation will underwrite the production and distribution of the films on both a national and international basis. In addition, the Foundation will fund various programs and activities related to the subjects dealt with in the films, such as scholarships, grants, educational materials and lectures.
It may sound simplistic—even naïve—to say the goal of the Augusta Chiwy Foundation is to make the world a better place, but that is exactly what it aspires to do.
People—especially young people—learn by example.
Augusta Chiwy’s service during the Battle of the Bulge was an extraordinary example of courage and caring. A civilian nurse working as a volunteer without compensation and without regard for her own safety or well-being, Augusta worked tirelessly to care for others.
While similar examples of service to humanity under such extreme circumstances may be rare, the Augusta Chiwy Foundation believes there are many compelling stories of individuals whose service to others can motivate people to recognize and respond to the needs of those around them.
With the support of its donors, the Augusta Chiwy Foundation will find and tell those stories so they may become a force for positive change in a world that could surely use more people like Augusta Chiwy.