A Footnote on Faith

A Footnote on Faith:

My review of this book is incomplete without reference to the role of faith in the survivors and their benefactors. Leonard Gross doesn’t mention it, though he does relate strings of coincidences and “charmed life” contributing to their survival. He even mentions people maintaining the external rituals of their faiths, but no inquiry into their internal life.

Perhaps all of those interviewed were only nominal Christians and Jews, but my conversations with World War Two veterans in general and holocaust survivors and liberators in particular reveals a high degree of active, sincere faith. Perhaps Gross didn’t see that because he wasn’t looking for it. Perhaps, being a modern, secular New Yorker of the 1980s, he just filtered it out.

But it seems highly improbable that those Jews and Christians took the risks and survived the hardships just based on patriotism, stubbornness, guilt, or altruism. Thousands of their fellows gave up and died. Or sold out and betrayed fellow humans. Why didn’t these? Is it possible some were motivated–even assisted–by a power beyond what they and we can touch and see?

So many died for their faith; mightn’t some survived by their faith?

An inspiring book, but I suspect we weren’t told the whole story.

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