Dear Dr. Ballen,
I want people to know how great Hashem is!
I am a Holocaust survivor who originally came from Munkacz, Czechoslovakia.
When we arrived in Auschwitz, I was age 15. As we got down from the train, the first thing that I lost were all of my loved ones. I found myself all alone. A soldier pushed me off to the side, the side where people were being sent to the crematoriums. Then came another soldier, and he pushed me to the other side, the side where people were going to be "chosen" for different things. At the time, it was not immediately clear to me, but soon after, I had realized what a miracle I had experienced. This was the first of many times I would be saved from certain death.
Another miracle was when I, along with a group of 15 and 16 year olds were facing the infamous Dr. Mengele. He was selecting who would be put to work as slaves of the Nazis, and who would end up in the crematorium. He pointed to me, asking how old I was. Trying to save myself, I said I was 18. He asked when I was born. I was actually good at math, but I was so frightened that I began stuttering and he sent me to the crematoriums.
Once, when I was in Auschwitz, I was part of a group of people who were sent to take a "shower" (in the gas chambers), and where we were given a piece of "RYF soap" (Juden Fatte = Jewish Skin Fat). We were standing naked with the soap in our hands, and the gas malfunctioned!
Another blatant miracle!
That day, I was crying so hard, as I knew my destiny had been determined; I was, with the very young, old and infirmed, who would end up murdered in the crematorium. People who were kept alive, were taken to the "toilet" (actually ditches) once a day. A woman who was on the line to be "toileted" was my saving angel; she simply grabbed me and said: "you're coming with us." She risked certain death if she were caught. I ended up going to the concentration camp of Christianstadt to work with the other women because of that angel.
Another time I was miraculously saved, was when I was part of a group of inmates chopping trees (yes, me, a young lady of 15!) and pulling apart train tracks. A wagon of sand toppled over me, and I was sure this would be the end of me! The other girls feverishly shoveled me out.
While working in Christianstadt, the inmates would make "soup" from dirty potato peels from the garbage. Someone accidentally knocked over the boiling pot which burnt me. I was forbidden from screaming from the horrible pain. I was told I would be sent to an infirmary if I was quiet, otherwise, I would be left alone to die with no one knowing the better.
I bit my tongue and lips, and was taken to an infirmary where there was a very kind Jewish doctor. She warned me to run back to my barracks, as a big ditch was being prepared to throw those who were lying in the infirmary beds. They would be buried alive in the ditch. I don't know from where I got the physical or emotional strength, but I ran, and here I am telling you this story.
Dr. Ballen, I feel that for now, I cannot write any more. I just want people to know how great Hashem is. He saved me so many times, so I could survive and bring so many talmidei chachamim , defenders of Israel and contributors to Israel into this world (my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren).
Thank you Hashem, a million times, for the great chessed you have bestowed upon me, over and over again.
Frida Solomon (Meller)
Ramat Tamir, Jerusalem
All I can say is "thank you" for sharing your amazing story with me. You've reminded me, in the most powerful way, just how far Hashem will go for those who cling to an ironclad belief in Him at all times. You saw such open miracles - even there - where it would be so natural to only see the darkness. If after what you suffered, you only praise Hashem's greatness, what should I be doing? I am a member of a generation of small, spoiled children compared to the likes of you. Nevertheless, I draw pride from the fact that we are related.
There was something that my Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom Arush, once said that I never fully understood until reading your letter. Rav Arush said that there was actually a greater revelation of Hashem's Light in the Holocaust than there was during the time of the Beis Hamikdash. Now I understand that the Light that Rav Arush was alluding to was coming from rare people like yourself.
With great respect, thanks and appreciation,
Dr. Zev Ballen
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Dr. Zev Ballen, Psy.D. has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years. He is the founder and developer of Emuna Therapy, a faith-based method of counseling based exclusively on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush. Dr. Zev has the endorsements of Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Rabbi Yitzchok Fagelstock, Rabbi Shalom Arush, and Rabbi Lazer Brody. You can see Dr. Zev's live video broadcast every Wednesday at 5pm Israel time here on breslev.co.il. You can write in with questions to Dr. Zev at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call him at: 845-362-8600 (US) or 054-840-9499 (Israel). Dr. Zev resides in Jerusalem, with his family, where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time private practice. You're also welcome to visit Dr. Zev's personal blog, Emuna Therapy.