Friday, May 04, 2007

One of the things...

about working for a Jewish nursing home is the culture. I love it. I'm a little Baptist girl (although not a conservative one), and I have a deep respect for the Jewish culture.

And working for such a home, the likelihood of meeting a Holocaust survivor is relatively high. I have met 3 in my life... all at the home. It's meeting a gem of human history when you meet a survivor.

I must admit that reading about the stuggles of survivors was an interest of mine in middle and high school. I read the Diary of Anne Frank and other accounts of what it was like to be Jewish and live through such awful times. I studied why WWII came about. I read about that unspeakable evil man and what he did.... to put it extremely mildly, it is frustrating to me that similar things are still happening around the world. (and if you recall US history correctly, we had our own concentration camps here during WWII, but singling out another group).

I am in awe of survivors. It is a great mark of their spirit and character to have endured what they did...

One resident in particular has had me thinking about this recently. He's an amazing man. So sweet... so likable... yet there's this thing always bothering him. It's always there... almost unspeakable for him. What do you say to someone who endured such horrible things? He talked briefly to me about how he survived. He simply became whatever tradesman they were looking for in the work camps. He had no clue how to be a bricklayer... or much else they were looking for, but he did them to survive. And just thinking about it brings him to tears.

I can't imagine being part of that or enduring all that he did. I don't know if my spirit would have been strong enough to live. To have been born in this country, relatively immune to persecution for what I believe... that's a gift. And it's also a gift that I have met great men like him to remind me of how lucky we all are.


Mackey said...

They were awesome people and those who hid them were braver.

ALthough, there are those today who still stand up for their beliefs in their own countries and are persecuted for it - we just don't see them in the same way because of our own belief system.

Have you seen the movie, "Freedom Writers?" At the end of the movie there is a wonderful scene about this very thing. If you haven't seen it yet, do so. You will like it very much I think.

Lisa said...

That post is amazing. I have met so many survivors in my lifetime, not to mention children of survivors and each have their own story to tell. What they had to do to survive the atraucities that were put to them. I am one of the few luck Jewish people. My entire family was already here before WWII. Some were persecuted in the late 1800 in Russia during the pograms. It is a lesser known annihilation of the Jews. It was brought into the mainstream through the play Fiddler on the roof. These pograms are what chased my family out of Russia. I am 3rd generation American born, and I agree with you about how lucky we are to have our freedom. Let's not forget that genocide is still happening in places like Durfur.
Thanks for putting such a touchy subject out there for all to read!

Tracey said...

This has been a discussion for me these past few weeks as well since we are reading "Escape from Warsaw" at work. How very fortunate you are to be able to be a part of this man's life.