Learning the Lessons of History

Stand for Israel  |  January 25, 2024

Yael Eckstein holds hand of Yuliana, an elderly Holocaust survivor from Ukraine
(Photo: Mihail Calarasan)

This International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yael speaks with two women, a Holocaust survivor and an October 7 survivor. And writing at Higher Ground, she discusses how once again we must come together in unity and cry out: “Never Again:”

“Life in Israel is a dream,” Sarah said, pointing out the window to our stunning view of Jerusalem. Even as a refugee, Sarah doesn’t complain. She realizes what it means to have a homeland, to have a home. “I would rather be a refugee in Israel than live anywhere else in the world,” she told me confidently.

Then, through tears, Sarah shared with me her family’s story of escape from the Nazis. From their comfortable home in Poland, to a labor camp in Siberia, and after the war, to a new life in the Holy Land…

Like so many survivors, Sarah not only forged a life and family of her own in the Promised Land, she dedicated her life to rebuilding the modern Jewish state of Israel, which she sees as the culmination of the dream of her family members who perished in the gas chambers of Eastern Europe. For Sarah, Israel is not only the return to the Jewish people’s biblical homeland, but the return to a place where the Jewish people can finally — after more than 2,000 years of exile and persecution – live and worship freely.

For generations, Sarah’s family felt safe in Poland. They never dreamed such an atrocity could happen in modern and developed Europe. In this shadow of the Holocaust, it’s not lost on any Holocaust survivor that Israel is the only country that not only says, “Never Again,” but has an army to back that up in action, if need be. And that is why, despite the terror through which Sarah has too often lived in southern Israel, she always felt safe in her home and community. But all of that changed on October 7, 2023.

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.