Modern Israel! - Storms brewing in foreign policy, Ahmadinedjad denying the Holocaust, and the Israeli reality: thousands of victims of the Holocaust living in Israel and still suffering. Certainly they were always around us, we even know some of them personally, but when we found out that they have organized associations - groups of people who suffered similar trials who had banded together, we decided to seek them out and serve them.
One such group from Leningrad, "The Union of the Last Blockade," are survivors of Nazi ghettos and concentration camps. These Holocaust survivors are not young; most were born between 1933 and 1938. They were children when the horror of the Holocaust fell upon them, bringing them into a face to face confrontation with death. Today they are again close to death as they are all well into their senior years and unfortunately, suffering from loneliness and poverty. They simply feel that life has passed them by.
We all know that upon their sufferings the modern state of Israel was founded. They are the bones that Ezekiel saw and we, their children, are the flesh and blood army which was resurrected in the vision of the prophet.
Scripture tells us that there are always times and seasons. We sensed in our hearts that now was our time to serve these fathers and mothers who had suffered so much. These are the words of Malachi: "And He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers." (Malachi 4:6). As we considered the plight of the Holocaust survivors in Israel this profound promise penetrated the hearts of our team in Shavei Tsion (Returnees to Zion, our Haifa congregation) and Netzer-ha-Galil (Branch from the Galilee, our Nazareth congregation). As we responded to the Word of God the door of opportunity opened up for us to serve these people.
These are victims of concentration camps and ghettos - terrible circumstances, death and horrors trapped them. We had heard some of their stories before we met Gita Koifman, the head of "The Last Blockade" Holocaust association. Gita enlightened us even further to their current sufferings. She told us, "We are forgotten, nobody needs us. I would be very glad if you could do something pleasant for the members of our association. We do not even have enough means to buy postage stamps ... We have sick people who don't have any help to leave their homes."
Hitler's God-daughter Transformed by Grace
On September 5th, 6th and 9th; just days before Rosh-Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the image of our redemption and forgiveness) we hosted celebratory banquets in Haifa, the Kryot and Nazareth. More than 250 people attended these banquets, a number far beyond our expectation. We were very exited and a little nervous. How would we be received? Our anxiousness was in part due to the remarkable and infamous identity of our guest speaker. We had invited Rosemarie Clausen to address the survivors. Rosemarie is the daughter of a German general, the former chief of police of Berlin. Originally a Nazi, this man had a change of heart and actually helped Jews to escape from the Germany.
Rosemarie also bears another badge of infamy, at her christening her father had asked none other than the demonic Hitler to stand as her God-father. Hitler eventually discovered her father's mercy to the German Jews and had him executed. Together with many Jewish children, Rosemarie was orphaned by the Nazis. She also suffered at the hands of the Russian occupational army in Eastern Germany.
Rosemarie stands as a testimony to the transforming grace and mercy of God. Here was Hitler's God-daughter, reaching out with love and compassion to Jewish Holocaust survivors. By God's grace she has been healed from bitterness and unforgiveness against both the Nazis and the Russians. She spoke to the survivors about God's mercy; even to the people who passed through the horrors of concentration camps and ghettos. The reaction to the message was somewhat mixed; to be sure there was great pain, worry and numerous questions. But many of the survivors thanked us afterwards.
|Pinchas welcoming survivors in Nazareth|
|Dancing in celebration|
An Open Door
Today we see that the door to these people and to their families is open. They know who we are, they are grateful for everything we have done and they want more. We want to enter through the door that God has opened for us. We pray for the opportunity to show God's love and mercy to these people so that the last days of their lives would be brightened by the love of the Messiah.
We believe the Holy Spirit is leading us to host 3 to 4 banquets each year to honor these people. What a wonderful opportunity that Messianic believers can pioneer this ministry to the "fathers." It is our duty not only to honor them in ceremony, but to provide ongoing help through food, physical assistance, and personal attention. Pray together with us for this project; that it would be led by God, that even more doors would open, and that we would express the love of Heaven through the Messiah for these dear Holocaust survivors whom He has preserved until this day.
We thank everyone who has served with us in prayer, financial assistance and personal participation. The Lord said this about you,"SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH."
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