HOLOCAUST PAYBACK – a love story

by Corinne

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Mrs. G was a Hasidic Jewess who weighed about 100 pounds and was seated at a messy desk.

She was wearing a wild, red wig which was balanced crookedly on her head.  I knew it was a requirement for all married women to cover their hair but this wig was obviously too big for her.

My dear sister in law, Evelyn, who was only 45, had advanced MS.  She was almost totally paralyzed.  We could no longer keep her in her home, even with full time help.

Mrs. G’s nursing home was my fifth stop of the day.  So far, I had no success in finding her a place.

She was blunt.

“You will have a difficult time placing her.  Nursing homes do not want a seriously disabled person who is young and is mentally alert.  They require too much care.  I cannot take her.”

She added, “They will tell you they are full but you might as well know the truth.”

Dejected, I gathered all my papers and was preparing to leave, when she said.

“Wait.  I want to ask you a question.

Your sister in law.  She has a Jewish name.

But I am looking at your face.  You look Irish.  Are you Jewish?”

Puzzled.  “No.”

“But you are willing to help her.”

I could not understand what she was saying.  What difference did that make?

There was a silence for what seemed a long time.

Then she said, “I am thinking about this.

I want to tell you a story.”

I was a young girl in the Dachau concentration camp when the Americans liberated us.  The German guards had fled and left behind hundreds of bodies.

They had no option but to gather them up and pile them onto open trucks for burial.  I was one of those bodies.

As the truck was pulling out, an American soldier thought he saw my eyelid blink.  He stopped the truck and pulled me off.

For years, I have searched for the young man.  I wanted to thank him and reward him for saving my life.

All I could find out from the hospital where he took me is that he was young and had an Irish name.

This debt has been with me all these years.  I am finally going to pay it. Because you are Irish and Evelyn is Jewish and you are willing to help her.

I will take Evelyn into my nursing home.

Mrs. G. took tender care of Evelyn for two years.

She placed her bed close to the nurse’s station.

When the “insurance police” came in to advise that a “sitter” we had hired was not allowed, Mrs. G. said she was told it was a devoted relative.

We had bought Evelyn a tiny refrigerator for cold drinks.  Also, not permitted.  Mysteriously, it was covered with a pile of clean linens and not noticed.

I was a frequent visitor and we became friends.  I got to know her whole family.  An unusual occurrence as Hasidic Jews do not usually have relationships outside of their community.

They shared their joy in the upcoming marriage of their beautiful young daughter.  It was an arranged marriage, as was their custom.

The couple had met only once and the rest of the courting was on the telephone.  The bride shyly told me he was “handsome, kind, and a successful partner in his father’s business in Brooklyn.”  Everyone was pleased with the match.

I was honored when Mrs. G invited me to her bridal shower.  I was the only one there without a wig.

After Evelyn’s funeral, I went to the home to pick up her few possessions.

I stopped into Mrs. G’s office to say good bye and to thank her for her extreme kindness.

She was still wearing that terrible red wig.

She got up from her desk and embraced me.  We would probably not be seeing each other often again.

Then, intently, she looked into my eyes.

Her last words were-

“I was glad to repay my debt.”

And then she added her greatest compliment –

“I know you are not Jewish.  But you have a Jewish heart.”

Picture by Pedro Nuno Caetano

An intoduction to Hasidisim

About Dachau

pixel HOLOCAUST PAYBACK    a love story
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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia Schopick October 24, 2009 at 11:04 am

Corinne:

What a beautiful story. I am assuming it is true, right? I know that Evelyn is now dead, but I hope you will read an ebook I just wrote (as a volunteer project) in honor of International Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) Week, which is taking place now. LDN is an inexpensive, off-label use of a low dose of a generic drug, that has helped many, many patients with autoimmune diseases, as well as some cancers. The most vocal patient group are those with MS. It has helped thousands of them.

I am also in the process of writing a book (title below) about 4 similar, lifesaving but inexpensive, treatments that doctors usually don’t know about. one of them is LDN.

Here is the link to my 116-page free ebook on LDN:

http://www.honestmedicine.com/2009/09/free-ebook-now-available-for-international-ldn-awareness-week-the-faces-of-low-dose-naltrexone.html
(You will find a download link there)

Thanks, Corinne. As you know, it is my passion and my mission to spread the word about these treatments that are inexpensive, and non-pharma funded. Patients are usually not told about them by their doctors.

I hope you are doing well, Corinne!! Keep up the good work!

Love, Julia

Julia Schopick
http://www.HonestMedicine.com
**The Faces of Low Dose Naltrexone (Sept, 2009), http://tinyurl.com/nfwkra
**Four Lifesaving Medical Treatments That Could Change Healthcare (March 2010)
**Interviewed by Mary Boyle Bradley http://tinyurl.com/yau9s2g
Twitter @JuliaS1573
.-= Julia Schopick´s last blog ..Free Ebook Now Available for International LDN Awareness Week: "The Faces of Low Dose Naltrexone" =-.

Reply

Corinne
Twitter:
October 24, 2009 at 11:46 am

Thanks, Julia -

I believe your work is so important that although I avoid links on my blog comments, you are a big exception.

Also, anything that can help MS patients is close to my heart.

Yes, the story is true. I have never published in before but it has always been in my heart and I wanted to document it.

And YOU keep up the good work!

Reply

Michelle Vandepas October 24, 2009 at 3:40 pm

What a wonderful story, almost seeming too outrageous to be true – and that is how you know it is so authentic. I’m glad you wrote it as it gives new meaning to heart.
.-= Michelle Vandepas´s last blog ..Headed to Authorfest! =-.

Reply

Corinne
Twitter:
October 24, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Hi Michelle -

This story has been in my “back pocket” for years. I knew I had to tell it but I did not know exactly where.

Finally, I thought. Damn! You have a blog. Get it off your chest and tell it.

A lot of the inspiration was to counteract the terrible propaganda that was on the Internet that the Holocaust never happened. I had met so many people who had been there.

Another thing I did not really understand is that among Jewish people, a debt must be repaid.

Here is an excerpt from an email I received today from a person familiar with this custom.

“I haven’t heard this particular story but it belongs to a genre. There’s a principle that says you always repay debts, with interest if possible and directed as closely as you can to the original creditor ( the original person; if not available, a close family member; if not available some member of an affinity group; etc.).”

I guess Mrs G. decided my sister in law was as close as she could get.

Reply

Linda October 24, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Corinne: I loved the story. Beautiful perfect symmetry.

I hope it spreads, not just because it’s another drop in the ocean of truth to stand against the panicked lies of the holocaust deniers, but because we should all be repaying our debts.

Thank you, my friend.

Linda

Reply

Chris October 25, 2009 at 2:21 am

It is a story that repeats itself daily and it has nothing to do with race or religion. It speaks of a certain inner goodness within people. Take this – take this and pass it on.

Reply

Corinne
Twitter:
October 25, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Dear Linda -

Yes, I agree. We should repay our debts.

The important lesson here is that we OWE -

and we do not necessarily have the opportunity to repay our benefactor.

Paying back somewhere is the key.

Reply

Corinne
Twitter:
October 25, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Dear Chris -

I love this part of your comment.

“It speaks of a certain inner goodness within people”

I think we sometimes forget that everyone has that part within them.

Glad you liked the article. I hope people will be inspired to pass it on.

Reply

Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills October 25, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Touching story Corinne. I think we can all look for ways to pay back the kindness that’s been shown to us over the years. Keeps the flow alive and raises our awareness.
.-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..15 Funny Reasons Not to Take Him Shopping =-.

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Dick October 25, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Yours is a story with a lot of sensitivity. Unfortunately when Dachau comes to my mind it does not radiate a lot of thought about proper sensitivities. When your brother and I were in Germany one of our fellow army guys was a security police and had cause to go from sleeping quarters to sleeping quarters to deliver messages to men assigned there. In the course of doing his assignments he found valuables lying around and he stole them.

Now the Army looks very harshly at soldiers stealing from soldiers — rather bad for morale. So, this soldier was brought up for court marshal, found guilty and sentenced to years to be served in a Federal prison in the U.S.A., but first he was to be taken to a military holding jail in Munich. I was assigned to deliver him to that military jail.

I followed my instructions as to where the jail was and brought my prisoner to the gates. He was remorseful about his theft actions, was very frightened about what the next years in Federal prison would be like and when he saw the sign on he gates of the jail area the panic he felt caused him to become totally unglued — and rightly so! He was a Jewish boy (19 years old) and our rather insensitive Army had chosen a section of Dachau as the military jail.

Reply

Being the Change I Wish to See
Twitter:
October 26, 2009 at 12:16 am

Corinne,

Wow! You meet the coolest, most interesting people, sometimes by chance. This is a wonderful story and very heartwarming.

The Holocaust has such far-reaching tentacles. To meet someone who lived through it is a gift in itself. To get to know a Hasidic Jewish family is an even greater gift. So few of us are familiar with their beliefs and life, let alone being able to count them as friends. I know little about them other than they are very kind, devout and have a close community where they take care of each other.

This story shows also that repaying kindness can come in unexpected ways. I know you have paid that kindness forward many times over.

Sherri
.-= Being the Change I Wish to See´s last blog ..Service Dogs, Prison Inmates and Wounded Veterans =-.

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Rich Hill October 26, 2009 at 5:20 am

Wow what a story! Thank you for sharing it.

Many years ago I used to work for a great big burly Italian guy that we called Moose, who was an electrical contractor. He had been a foot soldier in World War II, entering at the toe of Italy and literally walked all the way up to the final invasion and ultimately was at the liberation of one of the concentration camps. He almost never talked about the war but one night we were out drinking after work and he opened up a little.

He told me that as they were approaching the concentration camp from a mile away he could smell the stench and the rumors coming down the line were bad but in no way did they compare in horror to the actuality.

As he told me some of the details the one that was most poignant was that as he was going through the yard one of the emaciated half dead victims clutched at his leg mumbling unintelligible words. Moose had to shake him off and then felt like he had just violated all of humanity in doing so.

This great big hulk had tears running down his face and he said no matter what ever good he could ever do in life he would never feel as though he could live to justify his repulsion of this human being.

Naturally I consoled him but it made no difference. He carried his action of what he felt as shame to his grave. Moose was a beautiful human being and the best person I ever worked for.
.-= Rich Hill´s last blog ..Is Google Sniper The Real Deal? =-.

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Corinne
Twitter:
October 26, 2009 at 9:35 am

Dear Sherri -

I am not surprised that you have had no occasion to meet either members of the Hasidim or survivors of the Holocaust.

They migrated to large metropolitan areas where they had some hope of work. Not to southern cities.

Even if you had met a Holocaust survivor, they won’t talk about it.

This story is all Mrs. G. ever told me.

I have a very close friend who was in a children’s camp. She lost her entire family in the gas chambers.

Once in a while, in the years I have known her, she has said, “Someday I will tell you about it.”

That someday has never come and I never ask.

I can understand why the unspeakable cannot be spoken.

Reply

Corinne
Twitter:
October 26, 2009 at 9:44 am

Dear Rich -

I feel so sorry about your friend and former boss.

Despite the rumors, how could they prepare our young American soldiers for what they found at the camps?

I visited the Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, in Israel. I literally could not even speak for two hours afterwards.

I will never go again. Even in the US. I don’t have to. Those pictures are burnt permanently in my mind.

There was one picture that haunts me. It was of a man – really a skeleton with skin – with a huge smile – reaching his arms through bars on a window.

Reply

Corinne
Twitter:
October 26, 2009 at 9:48 am

Dear Dick -

I wonder how many people know that our forces used Dachau as a prison.

That story was painful to read.

No matter how bad the crime was for your prisoner, I agree it was insensitive to send a Jewish boy there – or anyone!

Reply

Corinne
Twitter:
October 26, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Dear Jonathan -

You are so right. Kindness -
“Keeps the flow alive and raises our awareness.”

I so appreciate that you have become my “new best friend” on the Internet and it is my pleasure to support your very interesting and insightful articles.

But, I have to admit I really had a laugh at your last one. It is fun to interject some humor within a serious subject.

Readers – if you have not checked out Jonathan’s just go up and click on his name and it will come up. It is worth the visit.

Reply

Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny
Twitter:
October 27, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Wow! That gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. Love to hear stories of simple human kindness. Love to believe that when God has me notice something, that I step into it with courage as the American GI did. Unbelievable. Why would anyone even look twice at a pile of dead bodies? He looked intently and was rewarded for paying attention. He had the privilege of saving someone’s life. Wonderful.
.-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog ..51 Must Know Habits for Staying Young – from the Inside Out =-.

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Sharon Beck October 27, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Corinne, I had no idea there were people, other than the odd few, that actually believed it didn’t happen. I thought they were in the same category of souls that think we didn’t actually go to the moon.

In my first job when I had just turned 18, I got a job in the city (San Francisco) and I worked with two Jewish ladies that had both been in the Camps. They laughed about picking worms out of the bread before they could eat it. I remember feeling quietly privileged to know them. That was in 1962 and not so far away from that time in history.

These stories are food for our Soul. Thanks for them.

Sharon
.-= Sharon Beck´s last blog ..Big Trike =-.

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Corinne
Twitter:
October 28, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Hey Cheryl -

So nice to have you here. Welcome!

At that time, at the end of the war, there were still many young soldiers with great moral values.

Now I am saddened every single day at the news. Especially the gang raping of that 15 year old this week.

I blame the change on the violent movies and especially the videos these kids watch. I think it blurs the difference between reality and goodness and evil. It reduces humans to a game.

Life does not seem to have much meaning.

How could that crowd watch and do nothing?

They are not better than the Nazi mentality.

Reply

Corinne
Twitter:
October 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Dear Cheryl -

You are one of the lucky ones who do not watch the news.

Regarding -

“Corinne, I had no idea there were people, other than the odd few, that actually believed it didn’t happen. I thought they were in the same category of souls that think we didn’t actually go to the moon.”

That is especially prevalant among the Irainian propoganda.

Maybe I should turn off my TV set too.

Reply

Patricia Feldman October 29, 2009 at 12:21 am

What a wonderful story..You were so lucky to find Mrs. G and I know she will never forget you.

Love,
Patsy

Reply

Corinne
Twitter:
October 29, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Dear Patsy -

Thanks for being such a faithful reader of my blog.

Auntie Edna and my Mother always visited Evelyn when they came to Chicago.

- and sent her many, many lovely cards.

Reply

Patricia Feldman October 30, 2009 at 12:10 am

I look forward to reading your blogs. They are touching, funny, sometimes sad and very informative.

Auntie Edna spoke very fondly of Evelyn.

Reply

Dawn November 5, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Amazing. Beautifully written. I had tears in my eyes.

Thanks for sharing that.

Reply

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