BEGIN Elias Feinzilberg | Corina's Corner

Elias Feinzilberg

1.18.2010

Today we went on a field trip. We went to the Old and New Testament Jerichos, Qurntul Monastery, saw the ruins of Herod's winter Palace, and to a spot with a beautiful lookout of the Judean Wilderness.

Anyway the field trip was great but first I want to write about last night. A sweet little 92 year old man came to speak to us at the center. His name was Elias Feinzilberg (Fainzilber) and he was a holocaust survivor. He was so inspiring and cheerful. It was maybe one of my favorite parts of the trip so far. He spoke to us for about an hour (PS he only speaks Polish, Spanish, and Hebrew so the returned missionary boys took turns translating) and waited patiently for a while and almost every single person who listened was able to give him hug, say thank you, shake his hand, or take a picture with him.

Basically hard work saved this man's life. He said, "If you don't work, you die." At the start of World War II, his family was forced to move into a Ghetto. He decided to leave his family in Poland, and go work in Germany. He worked there for 2 after which he returned to the ghetto where his family had lived only to find out that his father had died of starvation and his mother and 5 sisters were taken by the SS and killed. He was left alone, so he went to work. He said that the SS would come by the Ghetto and randomly select people and take them to concentration camps. He was selected 3 times, however managed to either find jobs when he got there or escape. He spent time at Auschwitz and at Dachau as well as a few other places (it was a little bit hard with the translation, especially really German words) . He said that one time he was checking into a concentration camp and he just saw a door and walked in and it was a room with about 20 people. An SS officer came in and said something like we need you guys to work and took them to a little camp outside of Auschwitz where he worked in a coal mine for a year. He said opening that door saved his life. At the coal mine every day he would come out completely black. They would give them soap to clean themselves off and he later found out that the soap was made from the grease of people who had died. I just couldn't even believe that. He kept saying that they were really treated like animals. He said that his only focus was to survive, to eat. A few times he said, "I myself cannot believe that I lived through it, but I am happy to be talking to you today." It was incredible to see the number they tattooed to his arm at Auschwitz. It was amazing to hear all of his stories. His positive attitude was inspiring. At the end one girl asked him what advice he would give to us as young adults and he said, "Believe in God, work to live."

For a 92 year old man he was really energetic. I could tell that he liked being with us. He started talking to us at 6:45 and was supposed to go to a concert here at the center at 8, however I don't think he left until past 9, he kept telling us to feel free to ask him more questions. He even danced for us (he likes "La Coucaracha"). He even told us that we're welcome to visit him at his house anytime.

Please click here to read another sweet story about Elias Feinzilberg

1 comment:

  1. As a friend and neighbor of Elias I was moved by what you wrote about this truly amazing man.
    That he survived Nazi Europe and that he is in the physical, mental and emotional state he is in today, is a tribute to his spirit.
    What I did not see, was something that may be missed by some of your younger readers:
    What happened to Elias and to his family happened for one reason only - they were Jewish. The Nazis managed to slaughter
    6 million Jews. Elias was one of the survivors. The only one in his family.
    If your younger readers are aware of this, maybe some hate-based tragedies may be saved in the future - on all the inhabited continents of our world and between so many misguided people.
    May the Almighty soon bring true peace to all the people of our world!

    ReplyDelete

Powered by Blogger.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Back to Top