August 4, 2008

Was My Father Protected by Angels During the Holocaust

An interesting question about my father is how did he survive? Was it a miracle? Was he protected by a guardian angel? Ben Neuman was caught a number of times by Nazis and Polish antisemites. All were bent on killing him. Despite their efforts, my father survived. And in most cases, ended up with a better life than that of his persecutors.

There are several examples of some sort of divine intervention. As stated in a previous blog, one day, after several months on the run, my father lost all hope and went that night to his father’s graveside to end his life. He earnestly tried to commit suicide but his efforts were unsuccessful. Then, suddenly, he heard a voice in the wind telling him to in essence “Get out of Here”. He did and thus stayed alive. Another example is when he was on the run and found a polish woman to feed him. While eating the woman’s brother came over and saw my father. He asked my father if he is Jew. My father said yes. He then told his sister that she shouldn’t be sheltering a Jew. She told her brother to leave my father alone, that he was a nice man. The brother turned to my father and said that he should be already dead and even if he lived over the war the Poles would kill him. Then the brother thought for a second and said that he doesn’t want to wait for the war to end. He then grabbed my father by throat and tried to strangle him. His sister started hitting her brother telling him to leave him alone. He finally released my father and stormed out of the house. The next day the brother, who lived in Radziejow about three miles from his sister’s house, was found dead sitting on a stone. He apparently died of a heart attack on the way home.
Then after the war my father was a police officer in his town. One day, while he was on patrol, a “man” tapped him on the shoulder. He said to my father, Shalom Alechem. My father turned and faced the “man”. My father didn’t recognize him. He then told my father that he should leave Poland, that Poland was a big Jewish cemetery and no Jew should live in a cemetery. My father turned for a second and then when he faced the direction of the “man”, he was gone, vanished into thin air. My father ,who knew every street, alley, and hiding place, searched for him in vain. Three days later a Polish friend of my father told him that my father was on a hit list to be killed. He told my father to flee this area. My father left Radziejow that day, never to return.
My father could not explain these things. His best answer was that someone “upstairs” was looking out for him. The few miracles mentioned above are but an indication of how G’d works in mysterious ways. I believe that my father’s guardian angel was given a special assignment to keep my father alive so that he could one day start a family in America.

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