Zvi Jul/Aug 2010
For many days I had been asking myself, How do I find people like me, who survived the Holocaust, so that I may bring them the gospel of Christ? Speaking to them about the faith is not easy. They do not want to hear about what is written in the Bible. But as we say in Israel, “If God wills it, even a broom can shoot.”
Recently a friend came to my home to ask for my help. “Zvi,” he said, “I know a man who is 90 years old and passed through the same furnace of affliction as you did. He is a Holocaust survivor and does not want to hear about the Lord. I am here to ask if you would please come and speak to him. He only wants to speak with people who suffered as he did because they understand what he is going through.”
“I am ready,” I said. So I went to his home with my friend. We talked for quite a while and began to develop a friendship. I asked him how he dealt with all he endured during World War II, and I listened to his reply. Then he asked me the same question.
“In the beginning,” I said, “it was very hard for me. But over time, I started to read the Holy Bible and grow closer to the Lord; and He gave me hope and the courage to go on living. During the Holocaust I was jealous of those who died. I was 10 when the Nazis came through Poland, where I lived. I was separated from my parents and brothers and have never seen any of them again. I saw things no one should see, and I wanted to die.
“When the war was over I came to Israel, and someone gave me a Bible. I read Psalm 27:10, where it is written, ‘When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lᴏʀᴅ will take care of me.’ This verse helped me come to know the Lord. He gave me more and more courage to live. He even enabled me to go to others who also walked the same long road of suffering and to give them a desire to continue living.
“And here I am today, no longer suffering, because I put my trust in the Lord. My help came from Him alone.”
When I received the Lord, Psalm 27 gave me a great desire to go to others who felt forsaken, as I had, and show them the right path to God. Only in God is there hope. This 90-year-old man was far from the Lord, even though it was God who had helped him survive.
He had many questions, and I told him how I came to know the Lord personally. At the beginning of my visit, he was extremely distraught. But he paid great attention to everything I said, and in time I saw a great joy appear on his face. Then I opened my Bible and began to read to him.
He listened, and I could see the Lord was with us. He was not the first Jewish man who passed through, as I had, the seven halls of hell, as we say here. I have spoken to others who survived the Holocaust. And they all ask the same questions: “How can you speak about faith in God? You know what I have lived through! Where was God then?”
“How old are you?” I asked.
“I am 90 years old,” he replied.
“And who gave you this long life if not God Himself? You could have died in Europe many years ago, but He brought you here and has taken care of you. So if you want to know where God was, look at yourself. He was with you the entire time so that you should come to know Him and tell others about Him, others who went through what we went through and who ask ‘Where was God?’”
I showed him how God has blessed His Chosen People by giving us back the land He promised to give to us and to our descendants forever. When he asked me where such promises are written, I showed him Genesis 12:7; 13:14–17; 15:18; 17:8; and Exodus 23:31.
Then he asked, “Can you give me a Bible? I would like to read it.” I was waiting for him to ask. It was important the idea to read God’s Word come from him and not me.
“It is good for you to read,” I said. “You must read and also open your heart before the Lord. He will encourage you, as He did me. He gave me the courage to go on living. And here I am today, doing His will with much joy. Despite all we have gone through, God has not forsaken us. As it is written, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified’” (Isa. 49:3).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Zvi’s fascinating story is available from The Friends of Israel in book form and on DVD. For purchasing information, call 800–345–8461. Or log on to foi.org/store.