I was born in Amsterdam into a loving Jewish family. When Hitler's armies marched into the Netherlands our lives changed forever. We were secretly moved from one house to the next until, on May 31 1944, my parents were taken by the Nazis into concentration camps. My mother later died in Auschwitz but somehow my father managed to escape from the "Eisenbahnkommando" concentration camp near Landshut in Germany.
When my brother Alan began to share his faith with me, at first I was very skeptical about his experience with God, and found his explanations very uncomfortable and peculiar for me as a Jewish person. However, Alan began to pray for me and gave me a Bible to read. I thought I would do the good Jewish thing and start at the beginning in Genesis. However, I found it quite boring especially when I came to the book of Numbers with all the long lists of genealogies etc. I remembered my first thoughts about God as a child: that he was a God of our past and not our present.
Finding New Life in Messiah Through the Power of Passover
If you have ever attended a Messianic Passover Seder, it is likely that you have found your faith in Messiah transformed in some life-changing way. Perhaps the presentation deepened your understanding of the Lord’s Supper. Perhaps it helped you more fully grasp the connection between the promises of the Hebrew Scriptures and their fulfillment in the New Testament. Or perhaps it was at a Messianic Passover celebration that you, like many others, gave your life to Messiah for the first time or rededicated your life to the Lord.
For some of our Russian staff members, Passover has been a time when they have not only encountered Messiah, but also found new meaning in their long-suppressed Jewish identity. Here are some of their stories.
Putting the Dictates of God Before Those of Man: The Life of Carl Lutz
Little is known about Carl Lutz, a man who helped save the lives of thousands of Jews in Budapest during World War II. Lutz was born in Switzerland in 1895, but immigrated to the United States at the age of 18. He stayed in this nation for more than 20 years, studying at Central Wesleyan College (Warrenton, Miss.) and George Washington University (Washington, D.C.) and pursuing a career as a Swiss diplomat in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and St. Louis. He ultimately left the United States in order to become the vice-consul at the Swiss Consulate in Jaffa, Palestine (now Israel). While there, his diplomatic work allowed him to negotiate the release of German prisoners, an action that provided leverage in his later dealings with the Nazis while in Hungary.
After his assignment in Jaffa, Lutz took on the role of vice-consul with the Swiss consulate in Budapest, Hungary. Shortly after his arrival in 1942, Lutz began cooperating with the Jewish Agency for Palestine, issuing an estimated 10,000 letters of safe conduct to Jewish children whose parents were willing to send them to Palestine. Presumably, Lutz's desire to work with the Jewish agency stemmed from his time living and working in Palestine, as well as his deep faith in the God of the Bible.
Jan Karski: The Man Who Tried to Stop the Holocaust
Jan Karski is unique among the many hundreds of righteous gentiles for his singular effort to bring the truth of Hitler's campaign against the Jews to light in Western Europe and the United States.
He was born in 1914, in a diverse neighborhood of Lodz, Poland, whose population was primarily Jewish. Karski served in a variety of diplomatic posts even before joining the Polish ministry of foreign affairs in late 1939. His career was put on hiatus, however, with the outbreak of World War II and his subsequent conscription into the army. He was taken prisoner by the Red Army early in his service, and narrowly avoided death at the hands of the Russians by taking part in a prisoner transfer that sent him to Germany. Karsi escaped from the train while en route to a POW camp, and made his way back to Warsaw. Upon his return to his native country, Karski immediately joined the resistance movement in Poland, one of the first of its kind.