A moving scene took place earlier this week in the Chareidi community in Vienna, Austria, when for the first time in many years a Hachnasas Sefer Torah was celebrated for the Beis Medrash Kahal Chassidim.
The event was headed by the city’s Rabbanim, including the shul’s Rav, Gaon Av Beis Din HaRav Avraham Yonah Schwartz. The procession left from the Rav’s home and danced through the city’s streets.
During the procession, an extremely moving scene took place, when one of the chashuve members of the kehilla, HaRav Yissachar Dov Ber Keren, a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor and Vienna native, stopped at the very spot he was almost murdered by Nazi youth 83 years ago and emotionally said the bracha b’shem u’malchus: “Baruch She’Asa Li Neis,’ with one hand on the new Sefer Torah.
Chazzan Yisrael Erlich, who participated in the procession, described the scene. “In the midst of the procession, he stopped and while embracing the Sefer Torah in his arms, he cried out from the depths of his heart: ‘Baruch She’asa li neis b’makom hazeh!’ And the kahal cried out ‘Amen!'”
“Here in this place, precisely on this street, Nazi youths threw him to the ground and beat him with murderous blows. When he arrived at the Talmud Torah building that terrible morning, which is located not far from here (also today!), and saw the principal bruised and bleeding, he fled toward his house. The young Amalekim chased after him, and right here in this place, a nearby store owner stuck out his leg and tripped him.”
“The Nazi youths beat him up almost to death. He survived by a miracle. There’s a commemoration plaque right here on the street [for the Jews who lost their lives] but the true commemoration is this Jew, who returned to his birthplace after the war and proudly raised children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the way of Torah and chassidus, despite everything,” Erlich concluded.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)