I read the summary of a book –”Hiding in the Spotlight” – about Jews who were rounded up during World War II to be taken to labor camps where most would die. Among these people was a 14 year-old piano prodigy. Her father found an opportunity to bribe a guard and sent her off into the woods with the parting words, ”I don’t care what you do. Just live.” The book tells the story of the girl’s survival. I started to put myself in the shoes of that young person and wondered whether I could have survived after being sent on my own into the woods.
I thought about the father whose only hope for his daughter was for her survival and his feeling that no matter how she survived, her staying alive, no matter how harsh the life before her, was more important than the death she would likely face in the labor camp. I thought of his great love for his daughter, which I am sure was no different than the love I have for my own daughter and how I worry about her all the time. How this father must have felt when he saw his daughter leave after giving her up. I thought about the fear the young girl must have felt in separating from her family and facing a life alone. I thought about the sadness she must have felt in never again seeing her beloved father. Do you think you could have survived in such a situation? Would you have done what that father did? Perhaps most important, how could people have done something as cruel as rounding up and persecuting a people and sending them to labor camps where they would likely die? How could people be so cruel to one another?
I think of these questions and weep quietly in my heart for these people lost to us, I weep for the cruelty of humans to one another. How could we, God’s creatures, be that way?