Imagine for a moment the circumstances of those who were placed in the gas chambers of concentration camps in World War II. Naked, pressed in so tight that even in after death they were standing upright. Clawing at the doors, grabing their throats as the Cyclon B crystals hit the air and filled their nasal passageways. As they were suffocating, the killers on the outside could often hear the Jews reciting the Shema or passages from Psalms as they pleaded for salvation.
As their voices rose before being snuffed out, what do you think took place in that cold shower room? We know for certain God hears our cries for mercy and help but what could possibly have happened in that space and time where no one could see?
I believe those in the death chambers saw the Mashiach. I believe He met them where they were and gave them the ultimate salvation they were seeking.
As I speak with Survivors of this horrible time in history, they share their experiences and I write it down. But sometimes they ask me about their family members who suffered this terrible death. Why did they die? For what reason would God allow this; “why did they suffer such a dark and degrading death?”
If I feel it is appropriate I give them my thoughts of the Mashiach entering that poisoned atmosphere and embracing those who were asking for the ultimate deliverance. The usual response is one of escaping air, a deflating, as though they had been holding their breath for the last 70 years and now let it go… Ah, finally, relief has come.
In their final years I want to see these sweet and kind people, these Survivors of the Shoah, embrace the honor and compassion due them. I want those of us outside this unlikely and strange brotherhood to understand better who the Survivors are. For this reason I have written “Why is Great-Grandma So Sad?” It is why I continue to visit them, serve them and write about them.
We all need to understand their darkness in order to bring them light. As a very good friend recently said,
“When we go to the Survivors, we go as light. Lights don’t speak, they only shine.”
I want to be a light to them, and to the public; to expose the darkness of the Holocaust and share the beautiful people who suffered and came through the other side, stronger.