Esther Fragment Survives Holocaust

In October 1940, the Nazis established the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland, where they forced all Jewish people in Warsaw and surrounding towns to live. They crammed an estimated 400,000 Jews into an area measuring only 1.3 square miles and sealed it off from the rest of the world with a 10- to 20-foothigh wall topped with barbed wire and broken glass. Disease and starvation killed a staggering 300 to 400 a day. By July 1942, about 80,000 Jewish people had died. That summer the Nazis began deportations to the gas chambers of Treblinka where, in two months, they exterminated more than 300,000 Jews.

On January 18, 1943, the Nazis suddenly entered the ghetto, shot some 600 Jewish people, and rounded up another 5,000 whom they intended to deport for extermination. However, they met with unexpected resistance. The Jewish people fought valiantly with what little they had, holding off the Germans until Passover Eve 1943. Then the Nazis blew up and/or set fire to every building they could and shot to death everyone they came in contact with. An official report put the death toll at 56,065.

The fragment in the photograph at the left is a leaf from the scroll of Esther (1:18–19), rescued from the fires of the Warsaw Ghetto. Also targeted for destruction was God’s Word. Yet, like the Jewish people, it, too, survived because God’s Word promises that neither will be destroyed (Jer. 30:11). “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isa. 40:8).

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