N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Posts tagged “Holocaust

FREEDOM…FEAR…FAITH

Most people are familiar with World War II Holocaust where millions of Jews died terrible deaths, but may not be aware that there have been a number of other genocides in modern history. One man, whose family immigrated to America, learned it all too well in recent years. His name is Daniel Yessian. He is trying, through his music, to ‘SPEAK FOR A LOST GENERATION.”

Daniel Yessian

A shy young boy, born here in America, found a love for music through the encouragement of an older musician. As he grew, music would take him to places that he never dreamed of to find again his heritage…in Armenia.

Daniel had a natural ear for music, often imitating what he heard a teacher play. As time went on, he found a love for jazz and formed his own small band. Then something happened that would eventually change his life. He was asked to write music for commercials, which he found exciting and gave some pocket change that seemed like a God sent. He married, had children, and continued playing.

His family members were baptized into the Armenian Christian Church and it was through their priest that he was asked to compose some music that would be played for the Commemoration of the tragedy endured by the Armenian people in 1915.

A Short History:

The Armenian genocide was the systematic killing and deportation of Armenians by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. In 1915, during World War I, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians. By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country. Today, most historians call this event a genocide: a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people. 

The Armenian people have made their home in the Caucasus region of Eurasia for some 3,000 years. For some of that time, the kingdom of Armenia was an independent entity: At the beginning of the 4th century A.D., for instance, it became the first nation in the world to make Christianity, its official religion.

But for the most part, control of the region shifted from one empire to another. During the 15th century, Armenia was absorbed into the mighty Ottoman Empire.  The Ottoman rulers, like most of their subjects, were Muslim. They permitted religious minorities like the Armenians to maintain some autonomy, but they also subjected Armenians, who they viewed as “infidels,” to unequal and unjust treatment. Christians had to pay higher taxes than Muslims, for example, and they had very few political and legal rights.

In spite of these obstacles, the Armenian community thrived under Ottoman rule. They tended to be better educated and wealthier than their Turkish neighbors, who in turn grew to resent their success.

This resentment was compounded by suspicions that the Christian Armenians would be more loyal to Christian governments (that of the Russians, for example, who shared an unstable border with Turkey) than they were to the Ottoman caliphate. (note: Russia also had as a primary religion…Christianity through the Russian Orthodox Church and not Muslim.)

These suspicions grew more acute as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. At the end of the 19th century, the despotic Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II – obsessed with loyalty above all, and infuriated by the nascent Armenian campaign to win basic civil rights – declared that he would solve the “Armenian question” once and for all.

“I will soon settle those Armenians,” he told a reporter in 1890. “I will give them a box on the ear which will make them…relinquish their revolutionary ambitions.” (History.com)

Footnote: Today, Turkey refuses to admit that anything happened to the Armenian people even though there are skeletons to prove it and some 100 year old survivors, who remember this terrible history as children. Turkey calls it “relocation.” The truth being that they moved the Armenians out before they murdered them because they didn’t want the bodies to be in their territory. Only a few escaped to tell the story.

Daniel Yessian believed he would honor his ancestors and those who died in the Armenian genocide if he could compose a musical trilogy with photography of the history of the Armenians. He had never traveled to Armenia, but found it a wonderful experience of getting to know the land and people who suffered so much…but survived to this day. This Trilogy was based on FREEDOM…FEAR…and FAITH.

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If you would like to watch a remarkable film with the complete story of Mr. Yessian’s journey to bring his composition to the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra. It is available on Amazon Prime…An Armenian Trilogy. It is worth your time to look it up and watch.

AN IMPORTANT THOUGHT

In this film, Mr. Yessian wonders if there will be more genocides to come. This is a very important thought for all of us to contemplate. How much do we know or remember about the genocides in more recent history? How much are our young people learning today about past history that must not be repeated? Even today, in various places in the world, there is great persecution going on that may not make the national news.

REFRESHING OUR MEMORY OF HISTORY AND GENOCIDES

These pictures represent only a very few of the atrocities during the 19th and 20th centuries. It is, however, important to remember what people have endured and pray that there will be no more. Where one group of people stand against another, it is entirely possible that it will happen again. Mr. Yessian also says, “We are nothing without each other.”

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Video: A trailer, ARMENIAN TRILOGY, concerning the music composed in commemoration of the Armenian people who perished.

by Daniel Yessian.


LIFE IS FRAGILE

My Mother made a beautiful stitched picture that hangs on my wall. Every time I look at it, I think of her fingers carefully pulling the needle and thread. The message was important to her and it should be for all of us today.

 

stictching by Alta

History also is most important to us because it teaches us so much.  We can look at what has happened in the past and in some ways project the future…unless we refuse to learn. Most present-day issues are sensitive and hard to discuss, but we must think about these things.

What kind of “fragile” times are we going through and what has history taught our last generations?

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Let’s take a hard look at now and then.

  • Everyone has become fearful of the possibility of becoming sick or dying from our recent virus.
  • Governments have taken control world-wide more than we can remember in our modern history.
  • Life and travel has completely changed.
  • Tragedies have led people to respond with demonstrations as they let their concerns be known. This is the democratic way, according to our Constitution, and should be respected.

    Protests 2020 3

    A mostly peaceful demonstration in the U.S.

  • More tragedies have occurred for business owners, of every race and creed, whose livelihood has been ruined by the breaking and looting, which should have never been connected with those wanting peaceful demonstrations. Some organizations have as their goal to bring down democracy and pit our citizens against one another.

    protest looting broken windows 2020

    Small business store fronts smashed and looted.

(Let’s look at those in other parts of the world who are fighting to keep their democratic way of life.)

  • People in Hong Kong are facing further governmental crack-downs from mainland China as Beijing proposes new legislation. ( “China stunned Hong Kong when it announced it would impose a national security law on the city. Many worry this could spell the end of Hong Kong’s unique freedoms…”whole story on BBC News

Hong Kong

After 156 years of British rule, Hong Kong exists as a Special Administrative Region controlled by The People’s Republic of China with its own limited autonomy as defined by the principle of “one country, two systems.” (Wikipedia)

 

Why even mention the present day problems?  It is because these are only a few of the world’s problems that makes “Life Fragile” for all of us, in this country and around the world today.

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What can we, the present generations, learn from history?

  • The slave owners and slave ship captains were the ones responsible for the sins of the past…not people living today. By making slavery the sin of those living today only makes our society more fragile. Unfortunately, history cannot be relived, as much as we would like to correct the wrongs of the past.  Looking at and condemning the actions of the past by individuals or governments is one thing…to place it on the shoulders of those not responsible is another.

We talk of the need for “being together and unified” and  for everyone to work together to rid all injustices in society.  Yes, the present and future are our responsibilities. To rectify present problems is an honorable goal that most would want to see accomplished, but talk is cheap if we continue to blame those who are not responsible for past injustices.

Slave ships

Slave ship

Mass blame only leads to disruption and a society sickness within groups of people, leadership, the media, and our communities in general.

( Let’s think also about German history.)

  • The Nazi regime blamed an entire group of people. They were the builders of the death camps, designed to eliminate the Jews from their culture.  I had the honor of taking young Americans to Auschwitz to remember this tragic time during World War II.  It is an experience one never forgets. Even the Jews, themselves, could not believe that their businesses were being destroyed and that they would be rounded up to die, simply because they were a particular group of people.  Society has a way, through the evils of leadership, to turn against one another.  Interestingly enough, Hitler continued to use the expertise of his Jewish doctors and dentist.  How could he not have known the value of the individual?  Mass hysteria became the weapon of choice, as well as propaganda through the German media, leaflets, and posters against people as a whole.

 

Nazi death camp

Nazi death camp2

Jewish women in a Nazi death camp

The German youth today, or their parents, are not responsible.  We will make life more fragile if we try to pin on innocent people what tragedies were espoused when they were either tiny children or not even born.

  • Past generations of Native Americans had the horror of walking to their death on the Trail of Tears, which is a despicable part of our own history of governmental policies. The white, mostly of European descent, who rode their wagons through the tribal territory to settle the West were often murdered and scalped.  No living Native American had anything to do with this tragedy. 

     

  • We must not forget the hundreds of Japanese Americans, who were placed by our government leaders during World War II in the U.S.Internment Camps because of being Japanese.  The generations today of U.S. Government officials had no part in this. 

    Japanese internment

    American interment camp for Japanese in WWII

  • Because some policemen have acted in evil ways against defenseless people, ALL men and women wearing the badge can not be blamed or demonized for the acts of others… for many have dedicated their lives to helping safe-guard our communities.  Without them, those who mean harm will be let loose on those who will see a greater need to protect themselves. In this case, those wishing for more gun control may find their proposals will fall on deaf ears.

     

Are we getting the picture?

Blaming ALL people for the actions of some only leads  to an extremely fragile society. It leads to the persecution of the innocent and instability of our nation and the world today. 

Our last question:  Can destroying the representations of history remove it from memory?

the destruction of statue of Buddah in Afghanistan

180-foot-high Buddha statue in Bamian, central Afghanistan on Dec. 18, 1997, left, and after its destruction on March 26, 2001. (Muzammil Pasha, Sayed Salahuddin/Reuters)

tearing down of confederate statue at UNC

Police stand guard after protesters tore down the “Silent Sam” Confederate statue at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, which was considered destruction of state property.

 

Condoleeza Rice

 

Condoleezza Rice, former 66th Secretary of State, explained her view about destroying history to the Washington Examiner. She believes that the Confederate statues and associated names of schools and universities should be used as teaching tools. It is as a way to understand history even as we learn not to celebrate it.

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This is why we, the Believers in Christ and of the dignity of all people who were created in the image of God, must not forget to pray.  We must pray for each other, all mankind of every nationality and the government leaders around the world, who have the power to turn our world upside down.

We are a fragile world.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”  Nelson Mandela, former Pres. of South Africa

If my people will humble themselves

 

Video: Turn up sound

 

 

 

 


Americans Liberate Flossenburg Concentration Camp…the site of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Execution

If you missed the last blog about the 75th Liberation of Auschwitz, I would highly recommend that you go back and view it.    Link: https://boyerwrites.com/2020/01/28/75-years-since-liberation-are-we-turning-our-backs/

 

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In this blog, I am writing about the non-Jews that knew the risks they were taking when defying the Nazi Regime. We honor them and the”righteous gentiles” who risked everything to hide the Jewish families during World War II.  One of the men who stood up again Hitler was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a  German Christian pastor.

 

 Few twentieth century theologians have had a bigger impact on theology than Bonhoeffer, a man who lived his faith and died at the hands of the Nazis. For Bonhoeffer, the theological was the personal, life and faith deeply intertwined—and to this day the world is inspired by that witness.  (Google Books by Diane Reynolds)

…Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship,, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia  program and genocidal persecution of the Jews….Bonhoeffer’s efforts for the underground seminaries included securing necessary funds… By August 1937, Himmler decreed the education and examination of Confessing Church ministry candidates illegal. In September 1937, the Gestapo closed the seminary at Finkenwalde, and by November arrested 27 pastors and former students.

It was around this time that Bonhoeffer published his best-known book, The Cost of Discipleship, a study on the Sermon on the Mount, in which he not only attacked “cheap grace” as a cover for ethical laxity, but also preached “costly grace.” He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later, he was transferred to Flossenburg Concentration Camp.  (Flossenburg concentration camp, located outside Weiden, Germany, close to the Czech border, was established in 1938, mainly for political prisoners. Once the war began, however, other prisoners and Jews were housed there as well.Apr 11, 2008)

After being accused of being associated with the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler,he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then hanged on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing.   21 days later Adolf Hitler committed suicide.  (Wikipedia)

Quotes by Bonhoeffer:

 

Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him.

On the cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers.

For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God.

So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.

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We must finally stop appealing to theology to justify our reserved silence about what the state is doing

for that is nothing but fear. ‘Open your mouth for the one who is voiceless

for who in the church today still remembers that that is the least of the Bible’s demands in times such as these.

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The U.S. LIBERATION OF FLOSSENBURG:

At approximately 10:30 hours on April 23, 1945, the first U.S. troops of the 90th Infantry Division arrived at Flossenburg KZ,. They were horrified at the sight of some 2,000 weak and extremely ill prisoners remaining in the camp and of the SS still forcibly evacuating those fit to endure the trek south. Elements of the 90th Division spotted those ragged columns of prisoners and their SS guards. The guards panicked and opened fire on many of the prisoners, killing about 200, in a desperate attempt to effect a road block of human bodies. American tanks opened fire on the Germans as they fled into the woods, reportedly killing over 100 SS troops.

Additionally, elements of the 97th Infantry Division participated in the liberation. As the 97th prepared to enter Czechoslovakia, Flossenburg concentration camp was discovered in the division’s sector of the Bavarian Forest. Brigadier General Milton B. Halsey, the commanding general of the 97th Division, inspected the camp on April 30, as did his divisional artillery commander, Brigadier General Sherman V. Hasbrouck. Hasbrouck, who spoke fluent German, directed a local German official to have all able-bodied German men and boys from that area help bury the dead. The 97th Division performed many duties at the camp upon its liberation. They assisted the sick and dying, buried the dead, interviewed former prisoners and helped gather evidence against former camp officers and guards for the upcoming war crimes trials.

One eyewitness U.S. Soldier, Sgt. Harold C. Brandt, a veteran of the 11th Armored Division, who was on hand for the liberation of not just one but three of the camps, Flossenburg, Mauthausen, and Gusen, when queried many years after the war on his part in liberating them, stated that “it was just as bad or worse than depicted in the movies and stories about the Holocaust. . . . I can not describe it adequately. It was sickening. How can other men treat other men like this’”   (portion of an article By Colonel John R. Dabrowski, US Army Heritage and Education Center)

Piles of Shoes: As US forces approached the camp, in mid-April 1945, the SS began the forced evacuation of prisoners, except those unable to walk, from the Flossenbürg camp. Between April 15 and April 20, the SS moved most of the remaining 9,300 prisoners in the main camp (among them approximately 1,700 Jews), reinforced by about 7,000 prisoners who had arrived in Flossenbürg from Buchenwald, in the direction of Dachau both on foot and by train. Perhaps 7,000 of these prisoners died en route, either from exhaustion or starvation, or because SS guards shot them when they could no longer keep up the pace. Thousands of others escaped, were liberated by advancing US troops, or found themselves free when their SS guards deserted during the night. Fewer than 3,000 of those who left Flossenbürg main camp arrived in Dachau, where they joined some 3,800 prisoners from the Flossenbürg sub-camps. When members of the 358th and 359th US Infantry Regiments (90th US Infantry Division) liberated Flossenbürg on April 23, 1945, just over 1,500 prisoners remained in the camp. As many as 200 of them died after liberation. ( U.S Holocaust Memorial)

 

 

REMEMBER THE LIBERATION AND DIETRICH BONHOEFFER 

Ambassador Grenell lays a wreath at the Dietrich Bonhoeffer memorial in Flossenbürg Concentration Camp

 

Video of the Remembrance of the U.S. Army Liberation of Flossenburg concentration camp where Bonhoeffer was executed. (filmed in 2019)

Turn up sound:

 

 


Orchestrated Nightmare

One of my readers sent me an email explaining how he had made a trip to Auschwitz in Poland to find the memory of a particular child who perished there.  Having traveled as a teacher with American students to Auschwitz, I understood and remembered the locations where I also walked and saw the horrors of an “orchestrated nightmare” that took place in World War II.

w-buchenwald concentration camp

The email that I received from Ralph Davis is in part the following:

“Ms. Boyer,
My name is Ralph Davis (Dave) and I was good friends with Lili Jacob Meier who found the AUSCHWITZ ALBUM.
The short version is I am Catholic but Lili and I became close friends and she was like a second Mother to me.
 
Below is a way for you to watch an incredible video of Lili donating the Auschwitz Album to the Yad Vashem and then returning to Auschwitz for the first time since she was a victim there.  It is quite a moving video that I thought you would like to have.   This video Lili gave me is a great educational tool to help people understand the Holocaust and you are welcome to use it on your web site…” 
Who was Lili Jacob Meier?

Many scholars of the Holocaust have come to believe that when a Holocaust survivor tells a story that sounds too incredible to be true, it may be just that: the truth. Such is the story of Lili Zelmanovic (Lili Jacob Meier) and her photo album.

18-year-old Lili Jacob was deported with her family, and most of the Jews of Hungary, in the spring of 1944. On the ramp at Auschwitz, she was brutally separated from her parents and younger brothers.  She never saw any of them again. She was lucky and survived; yet, she was not always convinced of the blessing of having survived totally alone, bereft of family, friends and her world.

Unlike all of the other survivors, she was granted a small miracle. On the day of her liberation, in the Dora concentration camp hundreds of miles from Auschwitz, she found in the deserted SS barracks a photo album. It contained, among others, pictures of her family and friends as they arrived on the ramp and unknowingly awaited their death. It was a unique tie to what once had been, could never return, and could never be rebuilt.

It was also, as we now know, the only photographic evidence of Jews arriving in Auschwitz or any other death camp. After the war, Lili found and married Max Zelmanovic, a prewar acquaintance. Selling glass-plate prints of the album to the Jewish Museum in Prague enabled the couple and their first-born daughter, Esther, to immigrate to the United States. They settled in Miami and raised a family, yet the album continued to be central to their lives.

Survivors spread the word of a unique album in the possession of a waitress in Miami, and they made their way across the country to seek her out, and to hope against hope that their lost family, like hers, might be engraved on its prints. Not a week would go by but Lili would bring home strangers who were not strangers, and they would pour over the pictures and weep. Rarely, someone would identify a family member, and Lili would give them the snapshot. Since most of the Jews had been murdered, leaving no living trace, most of the photos remained unclaimed.

In 1980 Serge Klarsfeld convinced Lilly (pictured below) that the album should be safeguarded at Yad Vashem. She came to Jerusalem, showed it to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and donated it to Yad Vashem, where it resides to this day and is treasured for the future.

On December 17, 1999, Lilly Zelmanovic passed away. (from Yad Vashem)

lilly jacob presents photo album

Dave goes on to tell me about his running a marathon for Pro-Life in Europe and then going to visit Auschwitz where he found the picture of the little child named “Judith” he had gone to pray for at that death camp.   The picture below shows Judith and her family, along with a Catholic nun shown holding the baby. All perished.
auschwitz judith and family
Dave also has Lily’s number on his own arm to remember her and the sufferings of those in the camps.
lili meir auschwitz numberon the arm of mr. davis

 

I too, like Dave, believe that it is imperative that we continue to share the story of those who died in the concentration camps because at some point there will not be any living survivors to tell their stories. If we do not teach our future generations the truth, it could easily happen again.  Thank you, Dave.

The video shared below is long, but worth the watch. Take your time and listen and view parts at a time if it is more convenient.  It speaks for itself and it is my prayer that many around the world will make the effort to listen to it….and never forget!  

liberation of death camps

Liberation of a death camp by the allies

 

If the video should ask for a password, type  DaveDavis

 click this link for video


THE SEEDS a novel by N.W. Boyer

For those who love mystery and intrigue, I would again like to introduce to my readers my novel, THE SEEDS, which is fiction with a few historical characters thrown into the plot.    Chapter by chapter the mystery unfolds.  I have set up a special blog so that my audience may read from the beginning. Click on any chapter missed. Simply leave your email if you’d like to be notified as each chapter is published.   It would also be great to hear your comments as you get into the story.   THE SEEDS

CastillejaFlowerSeed


70 YEARS….Lilly Jacob Zemanovic and the Auschwitz Album….Schindler’s List

This week the world has been remembering 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.  It is hard to believe even this many years later the atrocities done there to so many people. Yet, it was a reality that must never be forgotten.

A few years ago, I took  Student Ambassadors  to Eastern Europe. We saw first hand the museum of Auschwitz with the thousands of eyeglasses, shoes, luggage, and the gas chambers.  I saw the tiny areas where prisoners had to stand for hours as punishment, with no way to sit or lay down.    Near these spots were messages scratched on the walls.   I saw a cross that is now covered with plastic to protect it.    One of my students  brought an arm-full of flowers to lay at the wall where so many had been executed.

 Even as late as 2011, the news reported that the President of  Iran  still  refuses to believe that the millions of  Jews, Christians, homosexuals,  political enemies of the Nazi regime, and others  went to their death in the consecration camps of Europe.

   The Prime Minister of Israel had to  stand once again to  tell the United Nations and the world that “Yes, Israel is a Jewish state”  and has the right to exist.  Even this week, our own President is refusing to see Israel’s Prime Minister when he comes to address our Congress and the peoples of the world. He will most likely emphasize what could lay in store once again unless we bind together to not allow these horrors… whether through nuclear annihilation or through the old method of  gas chambers.

  Question:  When will this persecution end…or will it?

Now, in 2015, my husband is taking a group of people to a Holy Land pilgrimage of Jerusalem.  Some ask, “Why would you go there when there is so much unrest in the Middle East?”   It’s simple….to walk the footsteps of our Savior, Jesus Christ…the Jew who gave himself for our salvation and to be the Messiah of all people including the Jews.

While in Jerusalem, the group will go to the memorial garden at Yad Vashem,  This is the remembrance of all  non-Jews  (Righteous Gentiles) who risked everything to hide Jewish neighbors and friends from deportation.   Oskar Schindler (see movie trailer below on Schindler’s List) and others  are named there.   These non-Jews are among the more than 21,000 who by 2006 have been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.   One of these was Father Pierre-Marie Benoit of France.   His monastary was busy all the time with people trying to flee certain death.  His printing presses ran full steam putting out new Baptism Certificates and false Christian names for Jews to be able to survive.   In 1966, he was honored on the Walk of the Righteous.      (To read more….Tribute to Father Benoit)     Christians and some Muslim people helped  hide the Jews.  This is not widely known.   The Christian group going on this pilgrimage will see the memorial stone for Oscar Schindler, a German businessman, who saved so many.  Today there are more than 7,000 descendants of the Schindler-Jews living in US and Europe, many in Israel. Before the Second World War, the Jewish population of Poland was 3.5 million. Today there are fewer than  3,000 and 4,000 left.

Holocaust Survivor Lilly Jacob

This is the picture of  Lilly Jacob Zelmanovic Meier, who died in 1999 in Miami, Florida.     When the troops arrived to rescue the survivors,  she found  pictures that are now known as the Auschwitz Album.   It is now in Yad Vashem in Israel.

This is Lilly’s story.  (Taken from the introduction of the “Auschwitz Album” shown below.

“18-year-old Lilly Jacob was deported with her family, and most of the Jews of Hungary, in the spring of 1944. On the ramp at Auschwitz she was brutally separated from her parents and younger brothers; she never saw any of them again. She was lucky and survived; yet, she was not always convinced of the blessing of having survived totally alone, bereft of family, friends and her world.

Unlike all the other survivors, she was granted a small miracle. On the day of her liberation, in the Dora concentration camp hundreds of miles from Auschwitz, she found in the deserted SS barracks a photo album. It contained, among others, pictures of her family and friends as they arrived on the ramp and unknowingly awaited their death. It was a unique tie to what once had been, could never return, and could never be rebuilt.    

It was also, as we now know, the only photographic evidence of Jews arriving in Auschwitz or any other death camp.  

After the war Lilly found and married Max Zelmanovic, a prewar acquaintance. Selling glass-plate prints of the album to the Jewish Museum in Prague enabled the couple and their first-born daughter, Esther, to immigrate to the United States. They settled in Miami and raised a family, yet the album continued to be central to their lives. Survivors spread the word of a unique album in the possession of a waitress in Miami, and they made their way across the country to seek her out, and to hope against hope that their lost family, like hers, might be engraved on its prints. Not a week would go by but Lilly would bring home strangers who were not strangers, and they would pour over the pictures and weep.

Rarely, someone would identify a family member, and Lilly would give them the snapshot. Since most of the Jews had been murdered, leaving no living trace, most of the photos remained unclaimed.  

In 1980 Serge Klarsfeld convinced Lilly  that the album should be safeguarded at Yad Vashem. She came to Jerusalem, showed it to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and donated it to Yad Vashem, where it resides to this day and is treasured for the future.” 

If we turn our eyes away to things that are unjust, we definitely will repeat history. 

———————-

The music written for Schindler’s List  always brings tears to my eyes as I sit down to play it on the piano.  It certainly must have been inspired through the talents of John Williams.  Please listen for this music as you view the trailer on the movie, Schindler’s List below.  Turn up sound.

 


Saved by Music…Alice Herz Sommer..a testament to the human spirit

Pianist Alice Hertz

Pianist Alice Hertz

This month I will be hosting a luncheon and the theme is music.  Music is definitely a “speaker to the soul”.  It reminded me of a previous blog, that you may have missed, concerning Alice Herz Sommer. She gives her views on optimism rather than hate; the great composers; and laughter.  She is truly a testament to the human spirit.  I felt it was worth remembering again.

What was so special about Alice was not only that she was a gifted musician, but that she used the talents that she had to save her own life and possibly lives of others during World War II. Living to be an inspiration to all for many years, Alice’s story is a repeat for this Sunday morning.

While in a concentration camp, Alice was ordered to play.   However, she knew that if she did not please those who heard, she and her young son would die as so many other thousands had done, including her mother.  She had already been ordered to leave her mother, who was sick, with the Nazi keepers.  It was certain that she would never see her again as the elderly and sick were sorted out for the gas chambers.    She said it was “the lowest point of her life”.

A woman of optimism and the ability to laugh also helped her through those terrible ordeals.  Who would have ever believed that Alice Herz-Sommer would live to be 110.   Before her death, she was considered the oldest Holocaust survivor.  She found her way to Israel after the war was over and then back to England, where her son also became a musician.

During her imprisonment in Czechoslovakia, she began to study Chopin’s Etudes, which include 27 solo pieces.  The music was the thing that gave her joy.

Alice Hertz Sommer Oldest Holocaust survivor

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Video below:


ISRAEL CELEBRATES 62 YEARS AS A NATION

Flag of Israel

Israel became the only Jewish nation in the world in 1948.  During this time, the desert has truly “bloomed as a rose” and displaced people from around the world have come to build a new life

Israel is the home to three major religions….  but, sadly, neighbors to this tiny country have said that  Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth.   It is a threat that no peace-loving person would want to live under.  Yet, they have come….Jews from all over the world.

Throughout the centuries, the Jews have battled for their existence. During  World War II, millions who perished in the ovens and gas chambers would have only dreamed of a place to call home as the Israel we know today.  It is the land of the prophets; the land of the Holy Scriptures; the land that armies have tried to conquer throughout history.

When I took high school student ambassadors to Poland, I spent time with a young Jewish guide who wanted two things only: to learn to speak English better and to emigrate to Israel.   He took my Bible and eagerly read the English to improve what he already knew.

Even during the 90’s, people in his small town were persecuting the Jewish shop owners, which made the news here in the U.S.   Hearing this, I called the number he had given me.  His mother, who was the reason he had not left with his friends, answered the phone.  I knew no Polish; she knew no English.   However, we somehow managed to communicate. I was the “Americana” and he was in “Israel”.   So he finally had gotten his wish.  I hope he is still there today and finding the life that he always wanted. I also hope that he has read the Bible that I gave him. Perhaps he has found the suffering Jew that I know as my Saviour and his Messiah.

On this same trip, the students and I visited Auschwitz Concentration Camp.  With an arm-full of flowers, my Jewish student went to the wall where so many had been executed.  He laid the flowers there. I can still picture him with his Bermuda shorts and a suit jacket and tie. He was giving as much respect as any student could. Later, in Munich we found the apartment building together that the Israeli Olympic Team had lived in when they were raided by terrorist and murdered during the Olympics.   All of these events showed me how these Jewish young people felt no matter where they lived.

My husband and I flew into Israel some years ago.  It was an airline experience like none other.  Not only were we guarded by machine gun, but as the plane approached the landing, the Israeli National Anthem was played.  One could hear a pin drop and then a cheer.  We were welcomed as “pilgrims”, which we truly were.

Some of my most memorial photos were those at the Temple Mount.  A large group of school girls in red were arriving to enter the Mosque.  They smiled and posed; happy to be photographed.   An Israeli soldier took a picture with me as I entered the area of the Wailing Wall…a special place of prayer.   Perhaps one of the most moving places was the remembrance of the children murdered during the Holocaust.  We walked down a lane with monuments to the “Righteous”….Christians who had helped protect the Jews during this terrible period.  Inside the building were tiny lights in the ceiling, representing stars and the children.  Slowly, around the clock, the names of these little ones are read aloud.

Surely, these people deserve to come home.  Yes, there are problems.  Not everything is right and the struggle will continue.  It will be up to individuals to shoulder the burdens of understanding.   Prophets declare there will be a great battle here someday.  When is not known.   However, for today, the nation celebrates 62 years.  The slide presentation below is Boyer Writes tribute to an amazing country.     Happy Birthday, Israel.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISRAEL
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