Holocaust survivor returns to Auschwitz and leads Christians in emotional Hatikvah

by Phil Schneider

What is the connection between the “Hatikva” Israeli national anthem song and Auschwitz? There is a major connection. Auschwitz is the symbolic place of the Nazi atrocities of mass killing of 6 million+ Jews in the Holocaust during World War II. There were many concentration camps and several death camps. Auschwitz has become the main symbol. But, there were also more than a million Jews who were killed by Nazi death squads who traversed Eastern Poland and the area that is now Ukraine with machine guns to kill Jews. The Jews had nowhere to go. Nearly every country in the world shut their doors. The landless people were not allowed to go to the Land of Israel by the British occupiers. The United States chose to shut their doors to mass immigration of Jewish refugees before and during the war. A few lucky survivors made it to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and some even to Shanghai. But most Jews were killed.

Jewish Soldiers in World War II

There was essentially no Jewish Army in World War II as there was no Jewish country as of yet. There was a small group of Jews from what would evolve into the State of Israel who were part of the British Army. They were in what was called the Jewish Brigade of the British Army. They did see some battle, but actually spent more time smuggling Jews out of Europe after World War II towards the Land of Israel. They were based in a critical border area near Italy that enabled them to help fleeing refugees who were looking to start their lives over again in the Land of Israel.

But there were actually more than a million Jewish soldiers who fought valiantly against the Axis Powers. Tens of thousands of Jews were in the American Army. Many thousands of Jews were in the British Army. But the most “Jewish-filled” Army was probably the Soviet Army. There may have been as many as a hundred thousand Jews who fought against Hitler on the Soviet front. This was the bloodiest and most fierce front of World War II. We know less about this front as so many of the commanders and soldiers were either killed in battle, demoted or killed later on by Stalin. But every year, to this day, World War II veterans from the former Soviet Union join together in Israel to commemorate their battles and bravery.

Today, the world has changed. Due to the longing of the Jewish people for 2 millennia to be a free country in the Land of Israel, Israel now doesn’t merely exist. Israel has a strong Army in the dangerous Middle East in a way that all of it’s neighbors know that if they attack the State of Israel, there will be a stiff price to pay. But, also around the entire world, Jews who find themselves in danger don’t merely have a place to run to. The Israel Defense Forces also have their back and will travel to the four corners of the earth to rescue any Jews in dire need. The lessons of Auschwitz have been learned by the very existence of a strong and potent Israeli Army.

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