How Yankel Survived the Train to Auschwitz – by Eliezer Gonzalez

Feb 2, 2016 9257


Boarding a train for Auschwitz.

There was a Jew in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York, whose name was Yankel, He owned a bakery there, and he had survived the Nazi concentration camps. He tells his story:

You know why it is that I’m alive today? I was a kid, just a teenager at the time. We were on the train, in a boxcar, being taken to Auschwitz. Night came and it was freezing, deathly cold in that boxcar. The Germans would leave the cars on the side of the tracks overnight, sometimes for days on end without any food, and of course, no blankets to keep us warm.

Sitting next to me was an older Jew – a beloved elderly man whom I recognised from my hometown. Although I recognised him, I had never seen him like this. He was shivering from head to toe, and looked terrible. So I wrapped my arms around him and began rubbing him to warm him up. I rubbed his arms, his legs, his face, and his neck. I begged him to hang on.

 All night long, I kept the man warm this way. I was tired, I was freezing cold myself, and my fingers were numb, but I didn’t stop rubbing the heat onto this man’s body. Hours and hours went by this way.

Finally, night passed, morning came, and the sun began to shine. There was some warmth in the cabin, and then I looked around the car to see some of the other Jews in the car. To my horror, all I could see were frozen bodies, and all I could hear was a deathly silence.

Nobody else in that cabin made it through the night – they died from the frost. Only two people survived: the old man and me. The old man survived because somebody kept him warm; I survived because I was warming him.

There is Kingdom life in the commandments of Christ:

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

Do to others as you would have them do to you. – Luke 6:31

The first law of the Kingdom is selfless love, and the greatest manifestation of this is through service. Just like that boxcar, this world can be a dark and cold place. We live by serving others. There is no other way.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45

By serving others we share life with others, and enjoy the truest life ourselves. The Master has gone before and shown us the way. Now we must follow.

– Eliezer Gonzalez

Ingrid Hancock

Nov 5, 2019

Sis do you deeply moving and spiritually sound. Thank you so much for sharing this story of survival, strength, and the goodness of humanity in the midst of ugliness and horror ❤️?❤️

George D Maloney

Nov 28, 2018

Very moving story--will share with my two theology classes at Xavier University, Ohio.

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