A Story of Hope from Holocaust Survivors in This Moment of Fear

The Fellowship  |  March 30, 2020

Star of David memorial candles
Star of David memorial candles

During these times of uncertainty, we all look for something strong, something hopeful. We need look no farther than our faithful God, Yael Eckstein writes in a piece for The Christian Post, sharing a family story of God’s deliverance and divine intervention:

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “Just as a man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope.” Hope is what has sustained the Jewish people through their long and bitter exile. Hope leaves room for God and His providence. Hope lets us believe that no matter how dark the world seems today, there can be a better tomorrow.

I imagine that hope did not always come easily to the Jewish people. I grew up with a grandfather who survived the Holocaust that wiped out most of my family as well as one-third of the world’s Jewish population. I cannot fathom how it was possible for any Jews to have hope for a future while thousands were gassed and cremated daily. It was the darkest chapter in Jewish history, and it is incomprehensible that anyone could see the light.

My grandfather told me countless stories about what happened to him and his family during the Holocaust. He grew up in Germany, and when it became apparent that the Nazis intended to exterminate the Jews, his family left all they had and fled. The family was fortunate enough to have a car, which they used to drive as far as they could to cross the border. At some point along the way, the car ran out of gas and they were stranded.

My great-grandmother stayed with my grandfather and his brother while their father went to look for gas. While he was gone, my great-grandmother and the boys heard the Nazis approaching. They waited as long as they could for my great-grandfather to return, but when the bullets got too close, they ran. They left their car, the little belongings that they had, and their father and husband behind. It was terrifying.

When things eventually quieted down, they were grateful to be alive and certain that my great-grandfather had been killed in the incident. Meanwhile, my great-grandfather had been on his way to get gas for the car when he was told that the Nazis were headed in the direction of his family. He abandoned the quest for fuel and ran to find his family and bring them to a safe place. By the time he got to the car, all he saw were shards of glass, bullets, and no sign of his family. He was certain that his family had been murdered.

Still, he did not give up hope…

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