Holocaust survivor became atheist

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  • #1506056

    lesschumras
    Participant

    My wife had a cousin in Israel ( now deceased) who survived the Holocaust and made it to Israel after the War.
    He grew up in a very large Chassidishe family but out of grandparents, parents, siblings, uncles, aunts and numerous cousins, he was the only survivor.
    He made the decision that since Hashem had abandoned him, he would abandon Hashem. He never set foot in a shul and he raised his children totally ignorant of Judaism. The only exception he made was when if a religious relative of his wife ( my wife ) came to visit. They had several settings of kosher plates and utensils that they only took out for those occasional visits. The food was brought in already cooked.

    Should he have stayed religious, as many did? Obviously yes. Did I fault him for not doing so?
    No. I didn’t lose my entire family , nor did I experience what he did in the camps. p

    #1506063

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    If you read the Yaffa Eliach book Hassidic tales of the Holocaust there was a story of someone who went to visit his Rebbe after the War with his new Shiksa wife. Seems he was the Shamash of the community before the war and was the only survivor of his family

    Unfortuantly many people lost their faith after the war (Many also kept it)

    #1506064

    Joseph
    Participant

    May he do teshuva.

    #1506117

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    As I have heard a few times from R’ Moshe Meir Weiss…..we cannot judge these survivors. We were not in their place. He would tell the story of his uncle who survived physically but not religiously. At one point during the war, his uncle gave advice to Rabbi Weiss’s father that saved both their lives. Rabbi Weiss stated that who knows the reward his uncle will get for all the torah that he and his siblings learn due to the act that his uncle’s advice saved his father’s life.

    #1506137

    Health
    Participant

    LS -“Did I fault him for not doing so?
    No. I didn’t lose my entire family , nor did I experience what he did in the camps.”

    I agree. But the tendency to Judge others is Rampant in our Generation!
    As far as atheism is – I’ll quote a Goy:
    “Freedom and not servitude is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy of superstition.”
    Edmund Burke

    “Man is by his constitution a religious animal; atheism is against not only our reason, but our instincts.”
    Edmund Burke

    #1506181

    Mammele
    Participant

    Joseph: did you miss the now deceased part?

    But perhaps one can do something for his neshuma and Daven that his kids/grandchildren do Teshuva.

    If they live in Israel, chances of ending up assimilated like the Rothschilds are a lot lower, so there’s stil hope there.

    #1506189

    TheGoq
    Participant

    Joseph I was not aware that one could do teshuva after they are dead.

    #1506219

    Eli Y
    Participant

    The diary of Rutka Laskier was kept secret by her sister for 60 years after the war. Her sister was saved by catholic nuns. The sister is in her 90’s now and still catholic, so to speak.

    #1506273

    JJ2020
    Participant

    Isn’t there a basic idea that Hashem wouldn’t give someone a test they couldn’t pass? Is there someone in the Torah that says if really really super horrible things happen to you you no longer have to keep the mitzvos?
    I am in no way implying that I would do better at such a test bus someone who totally goes off the derech and doesn’t keep anything has failed has he not? Maybe he doesn’t deserve a sever punishment because he faced such a hard test. However he certainly didn’t pass with flying colors.

    #1506319

    DovidBT
    Participant

    Being obligated in the mitzvos (which applies to every Jew without exception), and being criticized for failing to observe the mitzvos, are different things.

    Another consideration is whether the person is in a position to influence other Jews. For example, a religious or secular leader, a teacher, or an author should be held to higher standards.

    #1506339

    anIsraeliYid
    Participant

    In the book Lieutenant Birnbaum, Meir Birnbaum relates how he became close to a Rebbe (I think the Bluzhever, but I could be wrong) after the war when he was serving in the DP camps. When the Rebbe was given permission to go to the US, while Lt. Birnbaum was still remaining in Europe, Lt. Birnbaum asked the Rebbe whom he should go to for Brachos, now that the Rebbe would not be near him. The Rebbe responded, “When you go into a Shul and see a man wrapping his Tefilin over a tattooed number – go over and ask him for a Bracha. Anyone who went through the hell of the camps and still puts on Tefilin is someone worthy of having his brachos answered.”

    So no, I don’t judge. I can only look in awe at those who went through that and stayed Frum, and thank G-d that I was not so tested.

    an Israeli Yid

    #1506345

    Joseph
    Participant

    Israeli Yid, that’s a famous quote from the Satmar Rebbe.

    #1506439

    Midwest2
    Participant

    Over the years I have had many friends who survived the camps and stayed frum. Yet they never spoke against those who didn’t stay religious. They knew what they had gone through. If the survivors themselves refused to judge, who are we to show such chutzpah?

    #1506673

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Besides for the ‘anger at Hashem’ and loss of belief due to the lack of open and speedy divine help, I’ve come to realize another cause for those who turned away from the path of their parents.

    During the war, nobody was actively practicing Judaism. They couldn’t. After the war, many people found themselves technically not Orthodox. It was a decision to become again a practicing Jew.

    One more point. There were those who became convinced that the world is indeed Hefker. But those who were ‘angry at Hashem’ could have been brought back with the right care. They didn’t lose their belief due to logical questions but rather it was their only way to release anger.

    #1506743

    anIsraeliYid
    Participant

    Joseph – the Satmar Rav ZT”L may have said that, but this particular incident took place with the Klausenberger (not the Bluzhever as I’d said previously). Who is to say two Gedolim can’t have the same thought?

    In any case, the point I made stands – those who went through that and kept their Emuna are worthy of our utmost respect – but we can not judge those who lost their Emuna there.

    an Israeli Yid

    #1506881

    JJ2020
    Participant

    If you can’t judge those who last their emuna you also can’t judge those who kept it.

    I think it’s also important to define what we mean by judge. There is the judgement of that which is right and wrong. And then there is judgement as to how hard it is for someone to do the right thing. The latter we can no judge but certainly we can deal with what one augut to do in certain situations. That’s what the Torah is for telling us how to live.

    #1506890

    JJ2020
    Participant

    Btw believing that Hashem abandoned you and you abondoning him in return is the opposite of athiesim. It’s the belief in Hashem and being mad at him.

    #1506911

    anIsraeliYid
    Participant

    JJ2020 – a perfect example of this is Elie Wiesel’s “Prayer for the Days of Awe” –

    A Prayer for the Days of Awe
    By Elie Wiesel
    Published: October 02, 1997
    Master of the Universe, let us make up. It is time. How long can we go on being angry?
    More than 50 years have passed since the nightmare was lifted. Many things, good and less
    good, have since happened to those who survived it. They learned to build on ruins. Family life
    was re-created. Children were born, friendships struck. They learned to have faith in their
    surroundings, even in their fellow men and women. Gratitude has replaced bitterness in their
    hearts. No one is as capable of thankfulness as they a
    re. Thankful to anyone willing to hear their
    tales and become their ally in the battle against apathy and forgetfulness. For them every moment
    is grace.
    Oh, they do not forgive the killers and their accomplices, nor should they. Nor should you,
    Master of t
    he Universe. But they no longer look at every passer

    by with suspicion. Nor do they
    see a dagger in every hand.
    Does this mean that the wounds in their soul have healed? They will never heal. As long as a
    spark of the flames of Auschwitz and Treblinka glow
    s in their memory, so long will my joy be
    incomplete.
    What about my faith in you, Master of the Universe?
    I now realize I never lost it, not even over there, during the darkest hours of my life. I don’t
    know
    why I kept on whispering my daily prayers, and those one reserves for the Sabbath, and for the
    holidays, but I did recite them, often with my father and, on Rosh ha

    Shanah eve, with hundreds
    of inmates at Auschwitz. Was it because the prayers remaine
    d a link to the vanished world of my
    childhood?
    But my faith was no longer pure. How could it be? It was filled with anguish rather than fervor,
    with perplexity more than piety. In the kingdom of eternal night, on the Days of Awe, which are
    the Days of Jud
    gment, my traditional prayers were directed to you as well as against you, Master
    of the Universe. What hurt me more: your absence or your silence?
    In my testimony I have written harsh words, burning words about your role in our tragedy. I
    would not repeat
    them today. But I felt them then. I felt them in every cell of my being. Why did
    you allow if not enable the killer day after day, night after night to torment, kill and annihilate
    tens of thousands of Jewish children? Why were they abandoned by your Crea
    tion? These
    thoughts were in no way destined to diminish the guilt of the guilty. Their established culpability
    is irrelevant to my ”problem” with you, Master of the Universe. In my childhood I did not expect
    much from human beings. But I expected everyt
    hing from you.
    Where were you, God of kindness, in Auschwitz? What was going on in heaven, at the celestial
    tribunal, while your children were marked for humiliation, isolation and death only because they
    were Jewish?
    These questions have been haunting me
    for more than five decades. You have vocal defenders,
    you know. Many theological answers were given me, such as: ”God is God. He alone knows
    what He is doing. One has no right to question Him or His ways.” Or: ”Auschwitz was a
    punishment for European Je
    wry’s sins of assimilation and/or Zionism.” And: ”Isn’t Israel the
    solution? Without Auschwitz, there would have been no Israel.”
    I reject all these answers. Auschwitz must and will forever remain a question mark only: it can
    be conceived neither with G
    od nor without God. At one point, I began wondering whether I was
    not unfair with you. After all, Auschwitz was not something that came down ready

    made from
    heaven. It was conceived by men, implemented by men, staffed by men. And their aim was to
    destroy n
    ot only us but you as well. Ought we not to think of your pain, too? Watching your
    children suffer at the hands of your other children, haven’t you also suffered?
    As we Jews now enter the High Holidays again, preparing ourselves to pray for a year of peace
    and happiness for our people and all people, let us make up, Master of the Universe. In spite of
    everything that happened? Yes, in spite. Let us make up: for the child in me, it is unbearable to
    be divorced from you so long.
    Elie Wiesel, a professor in th
    e humanities at Boston University, was awarded the Nobel Peace
    Prize in 1986.

    #1506913

    workingbochur1995
    Participant

    What about those Holocaust survivors that became self-hating Jews??? George Soros is among many of those who seem to have developed Stockholm Syndrome from Nazis, thus feeling ashamed of being Jewish

    #1506915

    Joseph
    Participant

    WB1995: The above posters will tell you to not C”V judge the survivor George Soros.

    #1506983

    Health
    Participant

    Joe -“The above posters will tell you to not C”V judge the survivor George Soros”

    Stop with your manipulating lies!
    There’s a huge difference between s/o who became disillusioned with Yiddishkeit due to the Holocaust, & s/o who became an anti-semite afterwards!

    #1507047

    Joseph
    Participant

    Health: Was survivor Yossi “Tommy” Lapid also an anti-semite?

    #1507091

    Health
    Participant

    Joe -“Health: Was survivor Yossi “Tommy” Lapid also an anti-semite?”

    IMHO he was.

    #1507096

    Joseph
    Participant

    LC, iac, aIY: Are you okay with judging survivors like Yossi Lapid and George Soros?

    #1508061

    Why did you start this thread?

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