Belgian born Louis Kinsbergen was one of the few members of his family that survived the Second World War. As a child he went into hiding in different places. Finally he ended up in a loving God-fearing family, where he was apprehended by the Gospel.
In remembrance and as a warning
It is 16 September 1992. I write this in remembrance of my foster parents Heit and Mem Wijbenga, so that this story will not be forgotten and so what they have done will not be placed in an unfavourable light.
I also write this as a warning against the rise of fascism, as takes place in Somalia, Yugoslavia and also again in Germany. Just as in 1940, the masses in this world stand around watching in silence. I hope many young people may read this and be alert for the increasing fascism.
A Yiddish mama
My grandfather was a well-known diamond merchant in Antwerp. Several family members earned their living at his business. In the depression of the 1930s he went bankrupt and the whole family lost their jobs, including my father. Around 1933 he left, with his wife and three children for Amsterdam, where he hoped to find work in the diamond industry. Unfortunately the crisis had struck there too, so that soon he was on welfare.
When the war broke out in 1940 my parents had divorced and my mother had to take care of the family alone. With a large family, now four children and in financial straits, my mother had a difficult life. Soon the persecution of the Jews started and my oldest brother, who was eighteen years old by then, was deported with the first Jews to Germany. We never heard from him again.
My mother was a good and loving woman, who would do anything for her children. As we Jews say, “a real Yiddish mama.” Due to the misery of the growing fascism, she became overstrained and had to be hospitalised. Finally she became extremely exhausted and was transferred to Apeldoorn. From there she was deported with other patients as animals to the concentration camps, where she was killed.
When the highly educated Alfred Edersheim read the New Testament, the in depth teachings of Jesus of Nazareth surprised him very much. He found in the Lord Jesus his Messiah and gave himself up to be His servant. He completed his theological study, became a beloved preacher and a valuable author.
Alfred Edersheim was born in Vienna, March 7, 1825 in a well-to-do family. He grew up in the highest Jewish circles in Vienna. He spoke Latin fluently and knew Greek, German, French, Hebrew, Hungarian and Italian.
In 1847 he went to study in Budapest. His mentor introduced him to several English speaking Christian leaders in the town where he came into contact with the famous Dr. Duncan and some of his Presbyterian colleagues. Dr Duncan was a fiery Christian and a man whose knowledge about Hebrew was very respected among the Jews. Edersheim felt very much attracted to Duncan and it didn’t take long before there were was a close friendship between them.
The depths of the New Testament
Through these preachers Edersheim got hold of a New Testament. Edersheim, “I had never seen a New Testament till I received the first copy from the hands of the Presbyterian ministers. I shall never forget the first impression of ‘The Sermon on the Mount’, nor yet the surprise and deep feeling, by which the reading of the New Testament followed. That which I had so hated was not Christianity; that which I had not known and which opened such untold depths, was the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.”
I have no words to describe the misery of the Holocaust and the suffering of the generation that has gone through the Second World War. No word is able to soften the painful memory in the slightest way. That is why I would like to speak about an experience that is more wonderful than I, a victim of camps, dead marches and forced labour, could have ever dreamt of.
A heavy strike
Now, every day, I receive new hope and new strength, yet I once cursed that I was born. My start in life seemed so promising. I was raised in luxury in a large mansion in a beautiful suburb of Budapest, Hungary. I was only eleven years old when my world collapsed with one strike. Our family business went bankrupt and my parents committed suicide. I was just eighteen years old when Hitler invaded Hungary. Although our family name, Fodor, was a common Hungarian name we were Jews. Previously our name was Goldberg, but my name didn’t give me protection; old friends turned their back on me and called me “filthy Jew”.
Crying out to God
A period of staying in camps, forced labour and dead marches followed. Days without food, water and facilities, escaping and being caught again. Several times I cried out to God. One day I worked in a mine and had to get water. On the way up my carbide lamp went out so I carefully took my last match and prayed, “God, if You are there, please light the match, it is so damp here. This is my last hope.” I scratched with my nail over the match and it lit! Now I could continue my way up! Another evening during an exhausting dead march I hid in a ditch and kept as quiet as possible. When I was laying there in fear, I even forgot my anger and cried in desperation to God, “God, I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know where I am, but if You are there, then please help me.” Miraculously I managed to reach the Austrian border unnoticed. Continue reading