In the winter months, when it is cold and windy outside, I find myself thinking about the Survivors of the Holocaust. I don’t do “cold” very well so when I find myself shivering or seeking out some heated spot in the house, I am reminded of how the imprisoned people of WWII suffered- and how they amazingly survived.
I have questions about them and that time: How did they do it? How could they have possibly remained alive through such conditions?
How could the camp prisoner have survived in minus degree temperatures? Dressed in single thin garments, or literally rags sewn together. Sometimes, for amusement, the Nazis gave women evening gowns or summer dresses to wear; men pants and shirts two small. They were forced to work outside in driving snow when it was so cold their hands froze to the metal tools they were holding. No coat, no socks, wearing unmatched shoes consisting of anything from high heels to wooden clogs- and usually the wrong sizes.
In the ghettos, homes unheated for lack of fuel since all the wooden structures had already been torn apart by those imprisoned there. Small amounts of wood or coal had to be saved for cooking a meal once a day- if they had food to cook, or a pot to use or even a stove. For many of the ghetto inhabitants, they did not even have housing but slept on the streets in the minus degree temperatures and snow and wind. Forced to give up their coats and gloves and hats for the Nazi soldiers fighting in Russia, they had nothing to ward off the biting cold. Without food, shelter, clothing, facing beatings and deportation, how did they manage to stay alive?
Physically, they should not have been able to survive. In the world of normalcy, whatever that may be, each person like them- subjected to extreme temperatures, exposure and frostbite plus starvation, overwork and despair- should have died.
It should have been impossible; literally and completely impossible, for them to survive.
But God- He chose otherwise. God brought them through the cold and the elements, through these impossible circumstances. This miracle is no different than three men being thrown into a super heated furnace and not one hair of their head being singed or even smelling of smoke.
Sometimes I hear people referring to those who lived through the Holocaust, through WWII, as “victims.” It makes me remember one of the first times I took a volunteer to visit a Survivor. I cringed inside when I heard the person refer to the woman we were speaking with as a “victim.” I was surprised and gratified at her response.
“I am not a victim! I am a SURVIVOR!”
Amen to that! The people we visit are Survivors and they obviously came through with a will to live, to SURVIVE impossible circumstances! Today Israel has the highest number of people over 100 years of any country in the world- and a large number of them are Holocaust Survivors. Currently the oldest person in the world, aged 112, lives in Haifa, Israel.
Our desire is to bring them more of what got them through those times- Hope. We want to bring them ABUNDANT Hope, and help them through their twilight years.
Are you willing to bring honor to these strong and resilient people of the Holocaust? Ask God what your part in their future needs to be. Time is not on their side so I suggest you find out soon. Bless these people who received the miracle of life in the midst of death.
I, for one, intend to make a difference.