Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gerda Weissman Klein--Holocaust Survivor

This afternoon Robert and I along with our daughter and granddaughter attended an extremely moving talk by Gerda Weissman Klein. She is a holocaust survivor and has written several books. Her book All But My Life was made into a documentary (One Survivor Remembers)for which she won an academy award. You can read more about her at her website

She talked about her childhood friend who found a raspberry in the concentration camp where they lived. Her friend carried that raspberry in her pocket all day to give it to Gerda. Her only possession and food and she gave it to her friend. It made me ask myself "How much would I be willing to give up for a friend? How much is too much? How much is not enough?" She could have eaten that raspberry and enjoyed it immensely but the love she had for Gerda caused her to hold onto it and allow Gerda the coveted treat.

The gift impacted Gerda greatly. She writes: "Ilse, a childhood friend of mine, once found a raspberry in the concentration camp and carried it in her pocket all day to present to me at night on a leaf. Imagine a world in which your entire possession is one raspberry and you give it to your friend."

I've seen this kind of love in Uganda many times as people come forward offering us their only chicken or goat in thanks for our coming to Uganda. They don't stop to count the cost or wonder if I give this away how will I get another? Many times we have been invited to dinner at the homes of the poorest of poor and I have often screamed inwardly, "don't slaughter the goat! I'm a vegetarian!"

Many of the things Gerda said today touched my soul but one of the things that caused tears to spring to my eyes was when she said; "Even today --I'm 84 years old and have lived in America for 60 years--sometimes I think the gestapo is going to knock on my door. Then I tell myself 'that won't happen here in America.'"

Each time I leave this country and see the atrocities around the world I thank God that I live in the United States and pray that it will always be a place where people are safe from the Hitlers of this world.


Terri Tiffany said...

Wow! What a moving story! I have always been interested in the Holocaust-- that something that awful could really happen. But I know it still does in many places today.
It makes me wonder too what would I give to my friend? Would I give my only food?
Thanks for a very good story:)

And you are a vegetarian??

Rachel Eggum Cinader said...

Hi Terri,
I'm not a true vegetarian but am when I am in Uganda!