Living in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, a town targeted by many of this past week’s terrorist attacks, 95-year-old Frederika insists she’s not afraid of the rocket barrages. She’s just afraid of more suffering.
Suffering is something Frederika knows all too well. When the Nazis overran Europe, the girl found herself separated from her parents and three brothers. Her entire family ended up in Auschwitz… and never returned. Frederika was the only family member to survive the Holocaust. But she survived through terrible suffering.
Sent to a forced labor camp, Frederika cannot bring herself to say the camp’s name, even after so many decades. She simply refers to it as “there.”
And it was “there” that she “suffered so much from the feelings of fear during the years I was there and my parents and siblings were killed. I saw the corpses of my people, who were murdered by the Nazis, stacked on top of each other.”
Now living her final years in southern Israel, widowed and alone, Frederika says, “I’m not afraid to die. I lived enough years. I’m not afraid of missiles. I’m only afraid that I will suffer, because I’m already suffering a lot.”
Living as a 95-year-old in the oldest and poorest neighborhoods in Ashkelon isn’t easy for Frederika. And now that rockets constantly rain down, her suffering is even greater. Her building isn’t reinforced and Frederika has no protected shelter of her own, so she only has 30 seconds to reach a bomb shelter when red alert sirens sound.
Her son, elderly himself, cannot make the trip to visit his mother, to bring her groceries, to make sure she’s alright. “With these missiles, he has not come for a week because it is impossible,” she says. And that is where The Fellowship comes in.
“I’m lucky that Fellowship staff come to visit me,” Frederika says. “I have someone to whom I can cry.”
And, in Fellowship friends around the world, Frederika has people on whom she can depend. She knows she’ll have food, medicine, and company. And Frederika knows that thanks to you, she will no longer suffer.
This Passover, when The Fellowship delivered a holiday food box, Paulina gratefully asked, “Where does The Fellowship manage to find these angels?” She feels blessed for this loving care that Fellowship friends like you make possible.