This past week the world commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day, marking one of humanity’s darkest hours. It has been 78 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. However, the atrocities committed during those years extend far beyond that terrible place.
There are currently 150,600 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, with over 15,193 passing away in the past year. 95% of them are over 80 years old. This is a remarkable passing generation to whom the world still owes a tremendous debt.
Holocaust survivors are usually in worse physical, emotional, and financial shape than other people their age. The effects of constant beating, abuse, starvation, frostbite, and physiological and physical violence they endured have exacted a heavy toll on these precious people. So many of them were orphaned and are now entirely alone, with no family or relatives to care for them in their old age.
When we first approached a local Holocaust center dedicated to supporting senior survivors and offered to help supply much-needed humanitarian aid, they wanted to know who was behind the funding of this project.
Our reply was not what they expected; we said it comes from Christians who love Israel and wish to bless Jewish people, especially those that have suffered so much at the hands of those that called themselves “christians” during the Holocaust.
Aaron, a remarkable 80-year-old survivor who heads the holocaust center, told me: “Christians? No, thanks.” The reply was shocking. They were refusing our help because of their past experiences with “christians.”
I felt his pain and knew where it was coming from. I realized that our words would not convince them of our sincerity, only our acts of love.
Many years have passed, and now, after having worked and helped thousands of Holocaust survivors, Beit Hallel has been embraced as a dear friend by these precious people. Not only that, but this work has sown seeds of love in their hearts and transformed their view of Christians.
Now, whenever I speak to Aaron and mention the dear Christians who selflessly and generously help and give to this cause, he always gives me a big smile and says: “After all these years, I can finally say, wholeheartedly, we can trust Christians, they have been our best friends these years.”
Knowing that the labor of love you have supported has transformed these hearts that are now open and receive your love-driven kindness and generosity is the greatest act of love you could’ve done. It has accomplished so much! YOU have done so much!
Yet, time is running short. With so many of these precious Holocaust survivors passing every day, we cannot help but feel the clock ticking, wanting to do so much more for them.
If you are feeling the same urgency, we encourage you to become involved in the incredible work of Beit Hallel with the Holocaust Survivors, providing help, encouragement, and dignity to them in their final days.