Supporting Holocaust Survivors

shofar and tallit

The Bible does not command wearing of a unique prayer shawl or tallit. Instead, it presumes that people wore a garment of some type to cover themselves and instructs the Children of Israel to attach fringes (tzitzit) to the corners of these (Numbers 15:38), repeating the commandment in terms that they should “make thee twisted cords upon the four corners of thy covering, wherewith thou coverest thyself” (Deuteronomy 22:12).

The opportunity to sow into the lives of Holocaust survivors is not one that we take lightly. A few years ago, Curt Landry Ministries, along with around 40 others, visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous concentration camp located near Oswiecim, Poland. Our tour had barely made it to the gates before many of us were deeply troubled in the spirit. The incredible weight of what had been done on that land hung oppressively in the air, even those many years later.

We tried our best to prepare our hearts for what we were about to face. As we circled, heads bowed in prayer, we cried out for strength and the ability to forgive.
However, what we saw next is far too vast to be explained in words. This horrifying, but important monument stands as a reminder of what happens when the Church and the rest of the world refuses to stand with Israel.

The most disturbing moment for me personally was when I realized that the very tallit I own is connected to a room full of prayer shawls at Auschwitz —which once were worn by the men and boys who lost their lives at the camp. Quietly, the guide shared with me that preceding World War II, two certain brothers were responsible for making ALL of the tallits in Europe. One chose to leave the area at the rise of Hitler, making aliyah to Israel… and the other, unfortunately, refused to go. The brother who left lived, and his tallit factory still produces prayer shawls… the very shawls Curt Landry Ministries sells toHolocaust Survivorsday. The other brother… his tallit now hangs permanently at the camp.

This was a shocking revelation for me. It was so heartbreaking to think of these many generations who were lost in such tragedy. What light has the world missed because it was snuffed out before its time?

As we left the camp, many of us with greater resolve than ever before, made a personal choice to stand with Israel. This was not just an emotional decision. When you stare something as dark as the Holocaust point-blank in the eye, you know exactly what you are standing against. I cried out to the Lord to make me a voice, and that continues to be the cry of my heart to this day.

Since that time, we have been invited to share in the lives of Holocaust survivors who now live in the nation of Israel. Many of them live in an apartment complex created specifically for them by the Israeli government. Although housing is provided, there are many ways in which they are still greatly in need. Many times there is not enough money to replace or make much-needed upgrades in their apartments. Often, they refuse to purchase new items for their homes due to an extreme poverty mentality brought on from years of war and post-traumatic stress.

Holocaust Survivors

LIST OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS: The people on this list are or were survivors of Nazi Germany’s attempt to exterminate the Jews in Europe before and during WWII; it is most widely accepted that a state-enforced persecution of Jews in Nazi-controlled Europe lasted from the introduction of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 to Hitler’s defeat in 1945. Although there were many victims of the Holocaust, the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) defines a Holocaust survivor as, “Any Jew who lived for any period of time in a country that was ruled by the Nazis or their allies.” ~ Haaretz

Nonetheless, when a group from Curt Landry Ministries visits these precious people, we are always warmly welcomed as honored guests. A major party is usually hosted, complete with beautiful entertainment that they supply themselves. There is dancing. There is music. There are many hugs and much love all around.

This isn’t the case wHolocaust Survivorsith all of their visitors. So what makes our partnership so special?

Over the years we have found small ways to share our love with these wonderful men and women who have suffered so much. Through generous donations from supporters like you, we have been able to provide much needed medical equipment, updates to plumbing for kitchen and bath, groceries for holiday meals, and the list continues.

Most recently we were able to provide a day of pampering for those who could not otherwise afford to visit the salon on a regular basis. There were many smiles all around!

If you would like to find out how you, too, can make a difference in the lives of Holocaust survivors, please join us at our Bridge to Zion campaign here. Where we invite you to be a part of something that is bigger than us—something that ministers healing and brings hope to the brokenhearted.