Today, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), we received this moving update from our Fellowship office in Israel.
On Thursday afternoons, the Fellowship staff in our Jerusalem office gets together for a 15-minute break, during which they have a little snack. The person who buys the snack also has the floor to talk about whatever they choose. Today, Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day – Lilia Sechkarov had the floor.
Lilia is an olah (immigrant) from the former Soviet Union. She shared about her personal connection to evangelical Christians. Except for her mother and one uncle, Lilia's entire family (grandparents, aunts, and uncles) were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Lilia's mother and uncle managed to escape from the ghetto and run to a small nearby village.
A family saw the yellow Stars of David they were wearing and immediately understood who they were. That family consisted of parents and four children between the ages of 9 and 18. They hid Lilia’s mother and uncle in their house for six months, during which time they never left. Somehow, the family was able to arrange documentation for them.
During the Holocaust, any family that helped Jews was murdered. To make matters even more perilous, this family's neighbors were in the police. Lilia explained that the family members were evangelical Christians.
It's thanks to them that Lilia was born. When Lilia made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from the FSU, the first thing she did was arrange for the members of the family to be recognized at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial and museum, as Righteous Among the Nations, an official title given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
For Lilia, the fellowship between Christians and Jews is quite personal, and began long before she was born.