I have been privileged to know six incredibly strong individuals who survived the absolute worst that man can do to one another. I call each of them friend but three of them are incredibly close to me on a personal level.
There is “Agatha” who is coming close to the end of her life but whose life was spared at the gates of Auschwitz because the SS Guard thought she was “cute.” That moment of reprieve for Agatha as the last moment she saw her mother and sisters and the rest of her family alive because they all went left to the gas chambers while she went right to her own type of hell and an incredible journey of survival. Agatha has only recently come into my life but she is incredibly special to me.
There is Jack who survived because his mother refused to allow the Nazis to take her children after they arrested her husband in Italy. She took Jack, his sister, his grandmother and herself on a harrowing journey over the Italian Alps to reach the British and Americans before the Nazis could find them. She reached safety and they came to America where they survived the war because his mother refused to allow them to die. Jack is precious to me because he shares my dad’s name and he has an incredible zest for life.
There is Josef the former rabbi who was forced to watch as the SS killed his mother before they crammed into a train car headed for Poland. He returned to Romania hoping to find any survivors — his wife or his children or anyone who attended the synagogue of which he was the rabbi. No one returned. He gave up on his belief in God and I met him as an old man in New York City in the waning years of his life.
Out of these three, only Jack is a believer in Jesus. Josef passed into eternity without Messiah Jesus and Tzedakah Ministries is desperately trying to reach Agatha with the Gospel message of Jesus’ love before it is too late. However, it is difficult times because of the history of the church and the failure of Christians to take responsibility for either the apathy we exercised during the Holocaust or for the actions of supposed Christians during this period. However, there are options. And what if it would mean that a Jewish person came to faith this Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day).