During danger he will keep me safe in his shelter. He will hide me in his Holy Tent, or he will keep me safe on a high mountain. Psalm 27:5 (New Century Version)
In Joseph Heller’s novel, Good as Gold, two men discuss friendship. One recalls the story of a Jewish man, who lived in Germany during his childhood. He and his family escaped the terror of Hitler because of courageous folks who hid them. During the conversation, one man asks the other longtime coworker, “Would you hide me?”
Ask a friend this question and you cut through shallow skin and into heart muscle. While researching for this article, I dialed my longtime friend Doris Allen and told her the story I just wrote for you. I didn’t phone to ask her the question. I called to thank her. I knew the answer.
Heller’s fiction grew out of real, horrific happenings. The Hebrew word “olah” means “burnt sacrifice.” Later, Greek words “holo” (whole) and “caustos” (burned) combined to form holocaust, a term used to describe the systematic murder of Jews by Nazi Germany.
Survivor David Katz wrote about his family and the Holocaust. After being separated from his parents, David, age 13, walked a five month journey to occupied France, mostly by moonlight. In hiding and disguise for several years, he found his first real bed and good night’s rest in the home of a Catholic priest. When the Gestapo prowled, the priest hid David inside an attic wall.
Other Jews left through underground networks. Some were shielded in outhouses, forests, behind false walls, and haylofts. During this time, plenty of folk turned their neighbors in for harboring Jews. Indoctrinated German children even turned in their own parents.
Julian Bilecki, a skinny teenager in Poland, and his family hid up to 23 refugees for several years in an underground bunker. In the winter, members of the rescue family jumped from tree to tree bringing food to the bunker to avoid leaving a trail of footprints in the snow.
Later from the United States, many of the bunker survivors sent gifts to the Bileckis, who remained poor. Eventually, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous flew Julian Bilecki and his son to the United States to reunite with some of the people the Belecki family had helped.
Mrs. Grau Schnitzer, who was 9 when sheltered, met him at the airport and spoke to him in Russian and Ukranian, “God should be praised for this moment, and thanks for all your goodness.”
Pettiness and possessions pale, moving into the background, when deep inquiries about life surface. What are your answers to these questions?
Who would I hide?
Who would hide me?
You may reach Cathy at www.cathymessecar.com
PS Thanks to Mike Cope (blog and article in Christian Standard) and Darryl Tippens (book: Pilgrim Heart) where I first read the question: Who would hide me?