A long, but necessary posting today. I’m glad I waited several weeks to tell you about this, because the experience was so rich with meaning I needed time to digest it all.
It started with an invitation from my neighbor to see this woman speak in our local area. This is her brochure:
That woman is Eva Mozes Kor, and she’s not only a Holocaust survivor, she is a survivor of Dr. Mengeles’ Twin Experiments. That is, she was an identical twin, and medical experiments were performed upon her and her twin “for the sake of humanity.” learning how the body works “for the improvement of the Master Race . . . .”
I am not Jewish, but I would have to hear her at our local Jewish Community. So off I went, one evening, a lone Gentile in a modern, stylish temple:
I settled down into a seat way in the back. Way, way in the back!
Apart from the fact that when I worship God, the women wear head coverings, but here it is the men who respectfully cover their heads — apart from that little fact, everything seemed “safe and normal.” People are people. My neighbor and his wife were there.
At last, Eva herself arrived and was given a seat up front, facing us. Here is a closeup view –
She was ready to speak, and I had no idea what we all were in for.
She spoke of her lovely childhood in a small village in Romania. She was an elementary school child when WWII and the German soldiers raged hundreds of miles away.
Except then the war came closer. She and her family were just about the only Jewish family in her village, and eventually the German soldiers came to arrest them. She described her ride in a cattle car, standing up with about a hundred others for four days — until they arrived in Auschwitz.
She and her twin sister were placed in the Twin barracks where everyone knew that they were Dr. Mengeles’ special project. It was there that she suffered severe hunger, thirst, cold, illness — and the medical experiments. The first part of her speech was spellbinding. Over and over again, we cannot believe that humans can inflict such cruelty on others.
She wrote a book about her experiences
That is Eva and her twin sister walking in front of the cameras on the day of their liberation. One of the days of liberation. It was a several week long process, with the eleven year olds completely on their own while the adults sorted out the confusion of which army owned the territory and what was to be done to the victim-survivors.
Inside the book she included photos – Happier days:
And not so happy days:
The congregation was motionless and silent as we listened to her words. The mood was heavy and solemn.
And then came the second part. Eva spoke of many decades of life in the United States during which she gave many lectures, testifying to the reality of the concentration camps, in a world which sometimes questioned whether it really happened. She thought that was her mission — until one day she interviewed a Dr. Munsch, assistant to Dr. Mengele, and one whom she knew personally from Auschwitz.
The doctor was alive, but not living. His life was a mess. He was so full of guilt and remorse that he could not move from his apartment. She interviewed him, got more information for her lectures, and then wondered what token of thanks she could give him as she gave all her interviewees.
What could she give her torturer, would-be murderer, this now elderly, broken down, psychologically paralyzed guilt-ridden shell of a man?
THE ETERNAL WORD
In my last post, I made reference to Moses receiving the Law and the Commandments about Sacrifice at the top of Mt. Sinai. That is, God gave to Moses his Word. The Word of God came down at Mt. Sinai. It’s a Word Unchanged, Eternal.
Throughout the ages, the Jews have protected this Word – which can also be called the Torah:
It is treated with utmost respect and religious devotion. They are charged with preserving the Word, bearing witness to the Word, retaining the knowledge of God, of His Word, and of the coming Messiah, so that the World will know these things.
The Torah is not kept hidden, but it taken out and read and processed for all to see and to venerate:
They are not adoring the physical object that the man is reaching out to touch; they are adoring the God from Whom that Word came. His Eternal Word.
As you may or may not know, The Torah, the Word, is carefully copied in “scrolls” and respectfully preserved with as much beauty as possible.
Beautiful “temples” are built to house these Torahs. Just like Christians, we all build these holy spaces as beautiful as possible to honor God, falling far, far short of the beauty and glory of Heaven.
Some Jews at the time of Christ realized that the Word came down as the Promised One, the Anointed, the Christ. They taught His Eternal Word ….
…. and here is where we return to Eva and her testimony.
For several decades, Eva spent her adult life going around the world telling people of the reality of the horrors of the Holocaust — until she was confronted with the necessity of giving a small thank you gift to Dr.Munsch.
Eventually she realized and accepted the fact — that the only meaningful gift she could give this old man was the one thing he needed most but thought he could never have: Forgiveness.
Eva struggled with the idea. She struggled with the wording of her thank you note. But at last she felt she got it right. She said the sending of that note to that doctor unexpectedly released such a burden in herself, a burden that she didn’t’ even know she was carrying around.
She learned that no one can heal and be whole without extending genuine forgiveness to the one (or ones) who have hurt you, even hurt you deeply and unjustly.
This is her message now. She had learned the Eternal Word from God doesn’t change: The Great Commandment is Love. Love God first. Love yourself. Love your neighbor. “Live at peace with one another” said a famous Jewish Pharisee a long time ago. “As far as it is possible, live in peace. . .” (St. Paul, Romans 12:8)
This is her message now, as I said, but it has not been well received! This is the explanation:
She speaks often to Jewish audiences. They identify with the Holocaust survivors,of course. This is the meaning of the phrase shouted out by young Israeli soldiers today: “Never again!” Never again will we be victims, as at Masada and as in the Holocaust.
But if you offer forgiveness, you are giving up your victimhood; if you forgive, and you no longer cling to the effects of your victimization. If you refuse to forgive, and you can keep the advantages of being a victim — psychological advantages, moral advantages, and sometimes financial advantages. People make way for you if you’ve been a victim.
These are not my words, but Eva’s. It’s her observation. It’s her wisdom gained through terrible experiences, prolonging the effects of those terrible experiences, learning how to be free from those effects, and watching sadly as many prefer to be enslaved by past injustice.
Her message to America is that she has observed this same process happening today, as whole groups of people, races, ethnicities, are being taught to find disadvantage and victimhood — and clamor for reparations and special privileges because of it. Sometimes they have to go back more than a century to find someone of their kind who have been victimized — and then they live in that past, live chained to the injustices of the past; and even though it prevents them from living freely today, this gives them Power Over others,
We all knew who she was referring to. We’re all aware of the news-entertainment role in promoting certain agendas. we are living in a time when the Progressive-Revoutionaries MUST promote racial and ethnic divides, in order to step in and offer us their solution. Americans are not like that. We must resist. We must live at peace with each other. Forgive and get on with our lives.
But here we are: EVA, THE ETERNAL WORD, AND A REJECTION. Eva testifies to her experiences that we must accept really, actually happened. The Jews and the Christians can testify to God and His Word. And the rejection of the Word of God — which is both Law and Christ – leads to perpetual victimization and a life of enslavement.
Deo gratias. And thanks to you, Eva, for your message.
I shall visit her C.A.N.D.L.E.S. museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, some day this summer.