Friday, June 27, 2008

The Survivor - A Little More Faith

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'I do not think it would be wise to exterminate the adult Jewish men and women... leaving their children to grow avengers against our sons or grandsons. The decision had to be made to annihilate as well every Jewish child and make this poeple disappear from the face of the earth. This is being accomplished.'

- Excerpt from a speech by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsfuhrer-SS to Gauleiters, October 6, 1943 - Germany
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What is yor first reaction, reading this quote? Shocked? I was. I read this quote in the autobiography, The Survivor by Jack Eisner, my favourite book. I've read it numerous times but I still enjoy it. Jacek, a 13-year-old choirboy was awarded a scholarship in the Warsaw Music Conservatory, but this dream was shattered when the Nazis invaded Poland. He became an expert smuggler in the ghetto, having to see his family and friends perish at the hands of the Germans. He was also involved in the Warsaw ghetto uprising and was transported to the camps. He managed to evade death by gas chambers and severe torture, and finally was reunited with his mother. However, 30 of his cousins, his sister, his childhood love, Grandma Masha, Papa and fellow friends were murdered.

This tale is really heart-wrenching and I still cringe whenever I read it. Those people existed and the thought of it makes it even worse. How could man turn into such beasts? How could they think of torture so severe? A commandant locked Jewish women and children in a shul, the house of prayer on a Sabbath and exploded the shul. The German SS troops also filmed Hasidic "festivals" where Hasidic Yeshiva students were forced to gorge themsleves with food and liquor in front of the camera at gunpoint, while the Germans made starving children watch, but not eat. They laughed and ridiculed. Finally, SS officer became bored and killed all the Hasidim and children. Then, they packed up and just left. Young girls were brought to the bordello in concentration camps and had to serve the SS officers and kapos with their bodies. A young child was thrown into the air and shot as a target practice. That is just the beginning.

This story is a grim reminder to us about how evil the human mind can be. I've always been interested to learn more about the Holocaust and this book was a big expose. I really wonder where was God when His people were suffering, massacred. The Jews were also wondering where God was and doubting that He was really there.

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Where's everybody? Where are all the Jews? What did they do to them? You and your survival! Hanging on to life at any price! Where do you get your passion to go on breathing when everyone we knew and loved is being murdered? Do you think you're better than anyone else? That you have special connection to God? Well, the fact is, He wans no part of you! Don't forget, you're a Jew! And He, my father's Messiah, is right now dining in Berlin.. In partnership with them! Survival? What for!

- Rudy, The Survivor
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Though, they doubted, they did continue to trust even in such dire situations. Now, our own problems are so much less than theirs and yet, our faith in God wavers easily. I guess God had a purpose for it to happen. I really don't know what but God knows. If God knew what to do then, certainly he'd know what to do now. All we've got to do is have a little more faith.

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