It was one of the last days of the 2015 Operation Save America event in Montgomery, Alabama.
When Pastor Rod Aguillard anointed my head with oil and laid his hand on me, my knees went weak. The power of God came upon me like it did when I first met the Holy Spirit in 1973. I began to tremble. I surrendered afresh. My heart pounded wildly. I am Yours, Lord.
"It's time to tell your story," Pastor Rod said.
I have always told my story. But this time, the Lord was asking for it to be written.
She Looks Like My Little Girl
by James Johnston
The True Story of Eva Edl and Her Daring Escape from the Communist Death Camps of Yugoslavia in the Wake of World War II
Eva was only six when the Nazis invaded. A coup against Yugoslavia's king caused a violent civil war to erupt, emasculating Yugoslavia's defenses even as the powerful Nazi war machine began to drop bombs on them. The nation's communists gradually suppressed the various sects clamoring for power, and displayed such a courageous resistance against the overwhelming Nazi forces that they won the admiration of the Western democracies.
Eva's family was relatively insulated from the trauma of the Nazi invasion due to being rurally isolated from the large cities and avenues of advance. Until they took her father. Although he was "impure Aryan" at best, and although he protested the Nazi menace, he was kidnapped to serve as "cannon fodder" for Hitler's rampage against Europe.
Sick in an infirmary, her father contacted them and left a message. He urged them to flee east. The Red Army was coming, and they would be brutal.
They did not get out in time.
The Soviets and the Nazis had begun the war as allies, but when Hitler invaded Russia and slaughtered millions of civilians, the Russian lust for vengeance ran hot. Armed with the weapons and moral authority of the Grand Alliance, the Red Army invaded from the east, driving out the Nazis.
Terror came in Stalin's bloody wake.
Hitler's betrayal fueled a rage and a hatred against Germany that would flood Eastern Europe with the blood of the innocent and the cries of the violated for years.
Eva Edl and her people were called Danube-Swabians; they were Yugoslavian by birth but German by heritage and language. The new communist government first dehumanized her people in the law. Then, empowered by the Grand Alliance, they unleashed a violent, genocidal campaign against Eva and her people.
Eva and her two older siblings were spared much of the wrath of the Soviets by her Oma (Grandmother), who was Hungarian by birth, and thus was able to be relatively safe in the midst of the Soviet trampling of the Danube-Swabians. She managed to keep her grandchildren hidden.
But not for long. The Soviets kidnapped her mother to dig trenches for the war effort. With her protector and hero gone, fear began to torment Eva's soul. Fear of the consequences of her own sin. Fear of Judgment Day.
Her two older siblings were led by bayonet to a forced labor camp, run by the brutal local communists, the Partisans. Oma and Eva were put on a train bound for a concentration camp. While the free world was celebrating victory over Nazi Germany and nuclear bombs had elevated American power to the pinnacle of the world, Eva and her people were targeted for elimination. Unlike the Nazi concentration camps, the communist concentration camps did not shut down when the war ended. They were just getting started.
There in one of the darkest hellholes of a communist death camp, Eva found Jesus.
Eva was miraculously rescued from the genocide of her people and immigrated to Austria, and ultimately to the United States, where she encountered another genocide behind the doors of death camps also propped up by godless laws and funded by the government. Over a million unborn babies, alive by every standard of medical science, were being killed in American death camps.
Eva felt the call of God to lay down her life to rescue unborn children, just as others laid down their life to rescue her. She became a voice for life and justice and an icon in the rescue movement in the United States, where up to 80,000 Christians were arrested blockading abortion clinic entrances in the 80's and 90's. Eva Edl has been arrested 46 times blockading abortion clinics, trying to save babies from death by abortion.
When our posterity dances on the ruins of America's death camps, when every child is protected by love and by law and legal abortion is as unthinkable to the free world as slavery, it will be because of the heroes like Eva who proved that love never fails.
Left: I'm the little 2 1/2 year old, pictured with my brother Joseph and my sister Anna. These were the happy days before the War, before the Nazis and then the communists came and ravaged my country.
Below: At four years of age, I'm atop the horse with my father Bernard Tiesler holding the reins in our small town of northern Yugoslavia called Prigrevica St. John.
Upper left: my newlywed parents.
Left: My Oma, Elisabeth, with her husband Matthias Drescher. My mother's parents.
Above: This is my family in 1944. My parents Barbara and Bernard, my brother Josef, my sister Anna, and me in the upper right.
Left: The cover of this book A People Erased may have the only photograph of a victim of my death camp at Gakova, Yugoslavia. This starving girl escaped with her grandmother, but died soon thereafter.
Right: Me after being fattened up at the British refugee camp in Austria.
Below: My first paid job as a kindergarten teacher.
Above: Eva, her husband John, and their three children, 1990, just six months before John passed away
Right: In 2018, while ministering outside of an abortion clinic in Augusta, Georgia, with our pro-life group, a young mother walks up and introduces us to a baby she decided to keep when we talked her out of her abortion a year earlier.
Above: Me and my siblings, Josef and Anna
Middle: Worshiping during a rescue in the early 90's. This day, like so many others, would end with me in handcuffs
Right: In the heat, the rain, and the snow, if babies are being killed, I try to obey Proverbs 31:8-9: "Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy."
Left: A newspaper clipping of my arrest trying to give Terri Schiavo a cup of water in 2005
Above: My arrest rescuing at the last abortion clinic in Kentucky in on Mother's Day weekend in 2017.
Right lower: Video of the 2017 Kentucky abortion clinic rescue. (For more footage and interviews of those involved in the Kentucky rescue, click here.)
Below: During my interview with Dr. Johnston in January of 2016
RESCUE those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, "But we knew nothing about this,"
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to
what they have done?
(A book purchase on Amazon is less expensive, but less generous to
the mission work.)
About the author, James Johnston:
Dr. Johnston met Eva Edl at their first Operation Save America event in 2004 in Columbus, Ohio. He witnessed Eva and some other veteran rescuers block the doors to one of the three abortion clinics. Eva stood up and preached to those that gathered, testifying of what it was like to be dehumanized by the state and targeted for termination.
He has joined Eva in donating all proceeds of the book to Eva's mission to support the Christian school in India. Dr. Johnston has visited India twice to serve in a slum church in Chennai, and, like Eva, shares a heart for for the salvation of India.
This is Dr. Johnston's eleventh book, but first biography. He is a family practice physician with ten home-educated children. Dr. Johnston is the former director of Personhood Ohio and worked tirelessly to abolish abortion at the state level. He and his children participate annually in Operation Save America events. His tenth child is named "Eva" after Eva Edl (pictured left). Dr. Johnston is the writer and producer of the faith-based 2019 movie "The Reliant" starring Kevin Sorbo, the Benham Brothers, and Brian Bosworth, which won 25 First Place film festival awards. He has a private medical practice in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, and is the founder of the Association of Pro-Life Physicians.
You can learn about Dr. Johnston's faith-building novels at DocJohnstonNovels.com.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
Senior Overseer, Network of Related Pastors
Former director Operation Rescue/Operation Save America
Senior Pastor, Pennsylvania
I was profoundly effected in my emotions and in my spirit as I read this book. For me, it could have been entitled “Shock & Awe.”
Through the innocent eyes of a young girl, Eva Edl, I saw the horrendous evil and demonic cruelty of Joseph Stalin and his Red Army.
Eva describes her childhood horrors in Yugoslavia as Stalin’s ruthless armies invaded her homeland. Masses of innocent civilians were murdered and imprisoned along with the wholesale rape of women and girls. In between the chapters of the suffering and violent murder of her people, she describes her heroic efforts to rescue the unborn children in America slated for suffering and slaughter.
Thank you Eva, for opening my eyes to the cruel darkness of our enemy powers confronting America. I love your great heart!
Missionary to China
“Oma Eva’s testimony challenged me to count the cost, to walk in my Savior’s footsteps and lay down my life for the least."
"Ever since I heard Eva’s amazing story while locked up with her in the Niagra Armory in Buffalo, New York, I knew her testimony would be an anthem of rescue. Do it again, Jesus! Do it again.”
Pastor Bill Shanks
New Orleans, Louisiana
“A diamond of a story. Prepare to have your preconceived notions on World War II and the pro-life movement shattered.”
Director Operation Rescue/Operation Save America
“If you’re content to go through life working, playing, being entertained, and enjoying your 401K by the pool, do not read this book. If you long to blend in, crave the ordinary, and dream of mediocrity, go watch TV instead. But if you want to tread where few courageous souls have dared to tread, if you want to see mountains moved, the bound liberated, and the lost rescued—this is a MUST READ!”
This story is real. No drama has been added. It is not fiction. It is historical. It is fact. Some will find that hard to believe.
The first time I heard Eva's testimony, it was directly from Eva's mouth. It was a bitter cold January day in White Plains, New York. About 100 of us had blockaded an abortuary entrance, shivering. We had been outside for hours. The police had arrived but were not arresting us. They were going to let nature punish us.
Someone in the crowd urged Eva to tell her story. She took us back to her childhood, to a different land and culture, ravished by violence and fear. She and her people were targeted for extermination. Unsung heroes rose to the occasion to rescue her from starvation.
We sat riveted. So did the police who were guarding us. Like us, they were deeply moved.
Like you will be when you read her story.
Like the blood of Abel crying from the ground for justice, Eva's voice cries out to the church and to this generation to open their hearts and be moved by God. Moved to love. Moved to speak up. Moved to rescue.