Surviving The Holocaust – A Four Year Old Remembers!

Lili Silberman Remembers Surviving With And Without Her Parents

I was 4 years old and my brother was 5-1/2 years old when we were first separated from our parents and were placed in a Protestant orphanage in Belgium.

I was a depressed and confused child, but with the passing of time, I began to believe that all children lived away from their parents.

After several months, the director of the orphanage had reason to suspect that the Germans might discover the few Jewish children hidden there, and my brother and I were suddenly returned to our parents.

Eager to surprise them, I was happy again.

Lili Silberman remembers surviving the Nazis when she was just 4 years old.

They were not expecting us when our escort knocked on their door and my parents felt certain that the Germans had come for them.

The terror on my mother’s face as she opened the door devastated me.

I had expected her to be happy at my homecoming, but instead, only gloom and despair pervaded our once happy home.

The next day, a strange man* came to the house, removed my brother and me, and accompanied us by train to a convent in Bruges.

And I was sure I had done something terrible!

* Father Bruno Reynders, a Benedictine monk, hid close to 400 Jewish children in Christian homes and institutions, thereby ensuring their survival.

* He was recognized by Yad Vashem, the Israel Holocaust Museum, as a "Righteous Among the Nations".

Life In The Convent

The convent had two separate facilities, one for boys and one for girls, so I was immediately separated from my brother.

My fifth birthday had just passed and I was now alone in a strange place.

The nuns were strict disciplinarians!

But as terrified as I was of the nuns, I was equally afraid of the older children.

When unsupervised, some of them would abuse the younger ones, and as I was one of the youngest and smallest, I lived in constant terror.

There was no place to hide, so I did whatever I could do, not to bring attention to myself.

What little food we had often had worms, and the bread was always rancid and moldy.

We lacked clothing, heat and medical attention and I don’t remember ever bathing.

I never saw a toothbrush, a handkerchief or toilet paper.

And when I couldn’t find newspaper scraps, I used my clothing.

I was nearly always awakened at night by lice crawling inside my ear, and I had a chronic bloody infection on my scalp.

Even in the freezing winter, we were sent outside.

I was swollen and numb from the cold, and my hands, blistered from frostbite, were scarred for years.

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Righteous Among the Nations – Sousa Mendes Provided 30,000 Visas

Who Was Mr. Sousa Mendes?

Mr. Sousa Mendes, a Righteous Among the Nations, remains relatively unknown in his own country, Portugal, but activists of a fledgling campaign hope to change that.

Mr. Mendes, was Portugal’s consul in Bordeaux when Germany invaded France, and he provided about 30,000 people with Portuguese visas to enable them to escape Nazi persecution; a fact which has been confirmed by the Sousa Mendes Foundation, which is run by descendants of the visa recipients.

Mr. Sousa Mendes started ignoring Lisbon’s orders and delivering his visas in 1939, several months before Germany’s invasion of France, in part because he had a twin brother, a fellow Portuguese diplomat, who was stationed in Warsaw and told him about Nazi atrocities there.

Sousa Mendes - Righteous Among the Nations - Provided 30,000 Visas

He issued many of the visas personally and also persuaded some others on the Portuguese diplomatic staff stationed in France to do the same, something which was against the orders of his own government, that was legally neutral but also Fascist.

Many of his visas, however, were issued in the frantic month of June 1940, when the Germans were tightening their grip on France and the Portuguese government was scrambling to bring home its rebel consul from Bordeaux.

Mendes eventually gave up his struggle and returned to Lisbon in early July, after the Portuguese instructed the Spanish border police to turn back holders of his visas.

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Tornado In Texas – Devastation But No Deaths

Sherry Enochs’ tornado story is one of the most remarkable ones to come out of the Texas tornadoes that gave raise to such incredible destruction, but caused no deaths.

 

A Story Of Fear And Miracles When A Tornado Hit The Enochs' Home

On April 4, 2012, Sherry Enochs who is a Texas grandmother, piled three children into a bathtub, thereby enabling them to survive a rampaging tornado, but she had to hang onto her grandson’s feet as the twister tried to suck the boy into its vortex.

Tornado Causes Devastation And Injuries But No Deaths!

When the nightmare was over the house where Sherry Enochs was holed up was little more than wood and debris piled up, and she and the three children she was babysitting were covered in mud.

A nail had pieced Enochs’ foot and she and the kids were cut and bruised, but they were all alive.

Very Little Warning And Nowhere To Hide

Sherry Enochs was babysitting her 18-month-old grandson Laine, and two other children Connor and Abigail, when she got a call from her daughter Megan, 26, who was five months pregnant and living about seven miles away in Heartland.

"Look at the TV, Mom",

she said.

On-screen, news crews were showing footage from Lancaster, just thirty miles away, of a tornado hurling tractor-trailers around.

"Is it coming this way",

asked Sherry.

"No. It sounds like it’s going to stay west of Forney".

But Sherry had just returned to taking care of the kids when her cell rang again.

It was Megan.

"Mom, look outside!",

And this time, there was a note of real urgency in her voice.

Sherry went down the hallway to her bedroom, looked out of the window, and her heart lodged in her throat.

A tornado was tearing across the open field adjacent to the subdivision and it was massive!

Behind it, the whole sky was black, and at its edges bits of debris were churning as it passed over businesses across the way.

"It’s here, Megan, the tornado is here!".

Sherry yelled.

"Mom, you need to go take cover".

Keeping Megan on the phone, Sherry ran down the hall to the front room where she scooped up Laine and Abigail and hustled Connor back up the hallway and into the middle bathroom.

"Get in the tub",

she ordered the bewildered kids.

The Enochs’ had no cellar, so the tub would be the safest place to take cover.

She climbed into the bathtub and sat Abigail and Connor shoulder-to-shoulder, placing her legs over them.

She felt confident they’d stay still, but Laine was panicking, so she clutched him in her lap facing her.

Through the phone Megan heard the roar of the tornado and something else she’d never heard before, her mother screaming.

Then the phone went dead.

"Mom? Mom?!".

For two minutes, Megan called her mother’s name, and then sank to her knees, sobbing.

The Calm Before The Storm

Sherry had expected the tornado to sound like a freight train because that’s how everyone had always described it.

But there was just an eerie quiet, and then the house’s electrical system had shut down with an audible pop.

But the freight train soon arrived the winds were so violent that she couldn’t hear her own screams.

The tornado even drowned out the sound of its own destruction, no crashing of shattering glass, no moaning of splintering boards, only the hellish, booming roar of 150 mph winds.

And whether or not Sherry could hear it, or see it, the twister was laying waste to their home.

Observers watched as the house seemed to explode into the tornado as if struck by a bomb, turning the funnel from grayish-white to deep brown as it sucked building materials and the family’s belongings up from the ground.

And Then The Tug Of War

And suddenly the tornado started sucking on Laine!

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Are Coincidences Serendipity Or Chance?

What Are Coincidences?

More often that not, when people talk of coincidences, they mean that two or more things happened by chance, accident or serendipity.

But I believe they are something much more,

The Train Wreck

Have coincidences affected your life!

I taught English to companies in Belgium for six months in 2001

And I traveled from Brussels to a town caller Libramont in Luxembourg to teach at L’Oreal every Tuesday for five months.

After doing it for around four months. I was asked if I could arrive earlier because the staff wanted to leave earlier.

I told them, “No problem”, and took an earlier train.

On March 27, the train that I had taken every Tuesday at the same time, was in a collision in Pecrot and eight people were killed and seven more were seriously injured.

The Bus Bombing

I survived a bus bombing in Tel Aviv

I made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel in August 2003 and started at an Ulpan to learn Hebrew in September, and attended it for a year.

I took the same buses at the same time five days a week, but one Sunday, the teacher told us to leave about 10 minutes early because there wasn’t really time to start something new.

July 11, 2004, I took an earlier bus and as I was walking back to my apartment I heard the sound of many sirens.

The bus that I normally took had exploded due to a bomb on board, and Hamas later claimed responsibility.

No Cafe And Bus Bombing For Years Now

For whatever reason, and I can only imagine that’s it’s the fence that the world wants Israel to dismantle.

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Former Addict Kim Carter Now Helps Others

Former Addict Kim Carter Helps The Invisible Homeless

The word HERO is now so often applied to sportsmen and sportswomen as well as to celebrities.

Wrong!

They do a job and get very highly paid for doing it – where is the heroism?

But Heroes Did And Do Brave Deeds!

They sacrifice or sacrificed their lives that other might survive or have better lives!

Former Addict Kim Carter Helps The Homeless

Kim Carter, at a very young age was exposed to heavy drugs, violence and criminal activity.

She overcame all that and is now helping a great many others to overcome similar experiences.

Not a textbook war hero perhaps, but a certainly a different kind of hero!

Kim Carter never had a chance to be a child.

At a very young age, she was exposed to heavy drugs, violence and crime.

Check out her video!

"People shooting heroin — we’d be playing as kids, and there would be needles on the ground".

Carter said. "It was rough."

At 5 years old, she had her first drink.

At 17, her first hit of crack cocaine.

"I didn’t know then when I took that first hit that I was going to lose the next 12 years of my life".

she said.

Prison And Rehab

Carter cycled in and out of prison, prostitution and homelessness. Then one day she had a revelation: It was time to change.

While in prison in 1993, she was accepted into a rehabilitation program that started her on a path to overhaul her life and get clean.

"I had a lot of sleepless nights — I felt like God was telling me: ‘I didn’t bring you through all of this for nothing’ ".

she said.

Time For Change Foundation

Today, Carter and her nonprofit, the Time for Change Foundation, help homeless women reclaim their lives.

The group provides housing, counseling and job training, as well as services to help women reunite with their children.

"I call them invisible people. We pretend that we don’t see them. But I see them".

She said.

How Is Her Foundation Helping?

Carter:

"What options does a woman with nothing have to start over? You have no money. You have no ID. You have no family, no friends. And you’re just out there walking the streets. A lot of times, women coming out of jail don’t have a place to go. They go in homeless, and they come out homeless".

"We meet women where they are, If they’re in front of the Greyhound bus station, if they’re downtown, if they’re at the hospital. We’re willing to be there at midnight to pick a woman up from prison, to bring her to a home, because we understand".

"A lot of the women who work at our organization have previous histories of incarceration. So they serve as a mentor for the client coming in as well as a case manager. They are able to understand the barriers of having a felony conviction or getting out of jail with no ID and no money, and they can help women navigate that. They really work with a woman where she’s at. There is no judgment. There is no looking down".

How About Those With A Criminal Record?

"For one, it’s a constant reminder of your past. But also when you apply for things like housing, employment and other social services, it can cause you to be screened out of opportunities to improve your condition".

"Here in California, voters recently passed Prop 47. It allows those who qualify to file petitions to have eligible offenses removed from their record. So when they go apply for that new job or apartment, they don’t have to check that box anymore. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the formerly incarcerated looking to turn over a new leaf".

"There is only a three-year window to take advantage of the law. So we arrange clinics for the public, where we bring them (together) with folks from the Public Defender’s Office and volunteer lawyers, and we help them file their petitions on the spot".

What Was It Like In Prison?

Carter:

"I walked the prison halls; I walked the yard. I was in there for all the birthdays, the Christmases. Missing my daughter and everything in her life. Being behind those bars, I thought that was going to be the rest of my life".

"Now when I walk into that prison, not just as a free woman, but knowing that I’m a change agent and a beacon of hope, I have a sense of exhilaration. I have a sense of empowerment that’s beyond anything that I could imagine. I know my life has come full circle".

"I’m trusted with an ID to walk in and out of the prison at my leisure and to have an office inside, where I get to share with women that we found the way out, that we don’t have to come in and out of here anymore".

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