These are true personal accounts of strength, courage, persistence and faith.
He was five years old when the Nazis arrived in his city. At the age of five he was put into the attic to hide, alone.
“You must be quiet,” his aunt told him. “You cannot make noise or speak. No one must know you are here.”
Very few small children can stay in one place and remain quiet. They generally have no concept of the need for silence. He had no toys, nothing to do. Day after day, nothing… How long could a small boy remain still? Then, one morning when his aunt brought him food, she also brought her needlework along. But it wasn’t for her. It was for Iliya.
Over the next weeks he began to learn how to do cross stitch, embroidery making his own patterns, crewel work, knitting, crocheting, tatting- any kind of needle and handcraft he could do. With nothing but time, and no one to take his mind away from his new hobby, he spent the next two years learning to hone this new skill.
By the time the war was over, Iliya had made beautiful creations and learned the skill of patience and detail. After finishing his schooling he became a draftsman and engineer. Always known for excellence in his work, he never left behind his first talent. He continued to create with needles and added painting and ink scratches to his accomplishments.
Then he discovered something that fit his interest even more than anything so far. He obtained the detailed schematics of actual WWII airplanes, ships and tanks and began to build exact to scale models. His work was most amazing as he built the models out of paper, cardboard, metal, cloth- anything he could cut and put together.
Today he has airplanes and ship models from various eras in display cases or hanging from his ceiling, his own artwork on the walls, his dollies on the table and his ink work on the sideboard. Walking through Iliya and Rachael’s house is fascinating- like visiting a museum.
Iliya is not much of a talker, but when he pulls out the schematics of his next project he becomes totally absorbed in his plans.
Rachael and Iliya have been adopted by someone who, amazingly, has a father in his 90’s that does the same kind of model work as Iliya. HaShem certainly knows how to match people up for new family relationships.