Restoring Survivors’ Hope in Humanity
May 13, 2014
I was frozen with awe as I sat in a small Jerusalem apartment and listened to an amazing 86-year-old Holocaust survivor tell me her life story. Shoshanah lost six siblings during the Holocaust, witnessed her father die, and spent years in a small bunker hiding from the Nazis. Today Shoshanah relies on The Fellowship for food, and I praise God that we are here for her during her time of need.
The stories that Shoshanah told me from her war-ravaged childhood seemed so unimaginable, that if I hadn’t studied the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, they would be hard to believe.
Her memories still deeply emotional, raw, and vivid, Shoshana broke down crying when she told me about her near death experiences. “I remember sitting in a two-foot-by-two-foot cell in a German apartment building, and hearing the Nazis enter and take away all of the Jews they found to concentration camps,” Shoshanah said, her voice cracking and her eyes turning red. “I still remember the cries of the children and the sound of the heavy boots of the Germans. That memory will haunt me forever.”
Indeed, it is difficult to comprehend how a ten-year-old girl could witness so much death, suffering, and fear, yet still remain hopeful. It is impossible to fathom how a Jewish child spent years running for her life, yet maintained her faith.
When I think of the childhood traumas that Shoshanah endured, a question that we all ask ourselves repeats in my head: “If I lived during the Holocaust would I have risked my life to save Shoshanah’s?”
And then I think of our reality now – full of freedom, choice, and privilege – and I cannot understand how thousands of Holocaust survivors still go to sleep hungry each night. These days, we do not need to rebel against the government, break laws, or risk our own lives in order to save Shoshanah’s. The Holocaust survivors are not asking us to put our children’s safety at risk, or illegally hide them in our basement.
They are asking us to provide them with a little food during their final years of life, and I believe that is the least that they deserve. With millions of dollars being put into building new Holocaust museums and memorials – which are certainly important – I wish that a portion of those funds would be placed into providing basic needs during the final years of their lives for the Holocaust survivors who suffered the most.
The day will come – inevitably soon – where the only place we will see the haunting numbers tattooed on concentration camp victims’ arms is in photos in a history book or museum. Soon it will be too late to provide Holocaust survivors with the basic needs they so desperately plead for, and none of us will be able to say that we did not know about their suffering.
I believe that now is the time to act. Before it is too late, we must open up our hearts, prayers, and hands for the Holocaust survivors. It is in our power to enable them to live their final years in dignity – free from hunger, cold, and illness.
During times of hardship and pain, Christians and Jews together in fellowship around the world are restoring Holocaust survivors’ hope in humanity.
Thank you for providing Shoshanah and thousands of other sacred souls with the gift of food and heat. You are the answer to their prayers!
With blessings from the Holy Land,