How did anyone survive the horrors of Nazi hell? How did anyone survive the Nazi death march as they were beaten and starved?
Surviving the Nazi Death March
Some survived the Nazi death march on the day of liberation, and many did not. How is it possible for a sick, weak, hungry, 11-year-old boy to survive? How did this young child survive the tortures of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Holocaust only to lose his father and then go on the death march?
Faith. That’s how.
Despite everything this young boy had been through, he survived through faith; through the belief that G-d was standing right by him. That G-d was holding him. This is a hard enough belief to have on a day-to-day basis. But having that type of faith while the Nazis have killed your family, tortured you, and starved you to death? THAT is a level of faith in G-d that many never manage to reach in their lifetime.
G-d is Carrying You in Your Times of Suffering
There is a famous story that goes as follows (This version of the story is courtesy of Chabad.org):
A man had a dream that he was walking on the beach with G-d. He saw scenes of his life flashing before him. There were two sets of footprints in the sand for each scene in his life. One was his, the other was G-d’s. Then, the last scene of his life flashed before him in the sky. Except this time, there was only one set of footprints. And it was also the lowest and saddest of times in his life.
He questioned G-d why He would leave him during the most troublesome times in his life. How could G-d possibly leave him when He needed G-d most? This man followed G-d throughout his life, and G-d promised that He would walk with the man!
And what was G-d’s response? “My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering I was carrying you” (Quoted directly from the story on Chabad.org).
The 11-year-old boy who became Rabbi Nissan Mangel had the ultimate faith that G-d was carrying him.