'A just and peaceful world'

With all the divisive bombast these last few weeks about politics and religion, it's a good time to hear an uplifting tale about people of different faiths working together in the face of pure evil. And what's special about this story is that it's told by my good friend and colleague here at the Daily News, David Lee Preston. It turns out that his mother's remarkable survival from the Holocaust in a Polish sewer inspired the Oscar-nominated foreign language film, "In Darkness" -- but what was truly inspiring was what she did with her experience:

During three decades as a teacher at Jewish schools and as a public speaker, my mother inspired students and audiences of all faiths with the story of the Lvov sewer workers who saved her, establishing herself as an eloquent representative of the victims and survivors of the Nazis. Her message was uplifting, about how goodness transcends religion, ethnicity and national boundaries, continuing from one generation to the next, from one culture to another.

"I had a mission," my mother told an oral history interviewer in 1978. "I wasn't just saving my life.... And when you have a purpose and when you have a cause, then you are able to endure everything.... I was living for my parents. I was living for my brother. I was living for my yet-unborn children. I was living for the past, and I was living for the future."

Kind of makes winning and losing at the Oscars tonight seem trivial, doesn't it?