Saturday, July 09, 2011

Who Would Hide You?

A Book Contest will run from now until the end of July. Want to enter to win a copy of A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment? Just leave a comment here or contact me by email and I'll add your name to the stash of hopefuls.

And a favor, please, pass along word about this newest book. Available at Amazon or ACU Press/ Leafwood Publishers.

And now.....for Friday's newspaper column: "Who Would Hide You?"

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?”

If you ask a friend that question, you cut through shallow skin and into heart muscle to find an answer. While researching for this article, I phoned my longtime friend Doris Allen and told her that story. I didn’t phone to ask her the question. I called to thank her. I knew how she’d answer if I asked.

Heller’s fictional story grew out of real, horrific happenings. The Hebrew word “olah” means “burnt sacrifice.” Later, Greek words “holo” (whole) and “caustos” (burned) combined to form the word “holocaust,” a term used to describe the systematic murder of Jews by Nazi Germany.

David Katz wrote about his family and being separated from his parents. Fleeing on foot at age 13, David walked, mostly by moonlight, a five month journey to occupied France. 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 escaped through underground networks, shielded in outhouses, forests, behind false walls, and in haylofts. During this time, plenty of folk turned their neighbors in for harboring Jews. Indoctrinated German children even turned in their own parents for sheltering Jews.

Julian Bilecki, a thin 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 traceable footprints in the snow.

Finally safe in 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 to save.

Mrs. Grau Schnitzer, who was nine-years-old 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 pales when deep inquiries about life surfaces. How would you answer these questions?

Who would I hide?

Who would hide me?

Index Card Verse for Week 27: “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

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