Paul Fodor, ‘I am free’

Paul FodorI 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.
Unfortunately I was picked up again, but on September, 6 1945 I got my papers to go home, but to which home? Just as the town where I once biked around freely, so also my life lay in ruins. I was a living victim of the greatest crime against God’s people. How could I ever believe again in people? How could I ever believe again in life? What is the meaning of life, if people can murder each other so cruelly?

Tortured by depressions

Looking for inner peace and quiet, I did all kinds of work, but was continuously tortured by depression. I immigrated to England where I met my dear wife Trudi. For a short time there was sunshine in my life. We started a family and moved to Canada after a few years. My brother-in-law suggested going there because the car trade was developing. When we arrived, a strike had broken out and I could hardly find enough work to maintain my family.
In our two roomed accommodation with leaking roof, it seemed to rain constantly. The toilet was outside, Trudi and the children were constantly crying. This appeared to be the end of my search for peace and freedom. I felt as though I was between stone walls, I was locked up in my depression. I feared that I would follow the example of others in my family by committing suicide.

Free of fear and despair

My brother-in-law was also in great trouble, but he received help from a church. At his suggestion, I joined him one Sunday and they showed the movie ‘Souls in need’. Those three words described exactly the state of my tormented soul! I felt that my life hung by a thread. God showed me that He was there, when I was in the mine, when I escaped from the dead march and I had never thanked Him for that. How could I come to Him now?
The movie showed people who gave their life into the hand of the Messiah, Jesus. Their lives changed completely. I realised that this was also a chance for me to be liberated from fear and despair. When they invited people to give their lives into the hand of God, I did not hesitate for a moment to accept the peace that surpasses all understanding, the peace that only Jesus can give and that He gives to any one who asks Him for it. The ties, that had bound me for so long, fell off.

Also for you

How could I, who cursed my Jewishness, be full of this inner and enduring peace? By reading the Bible I discovered that Jesus, Yeshua, is the real Jewish Messiah. He has been sent to take the burden of sin on Himself and pay for the guilt of sin. He bore the shame. He suffered and died for Israel and for all people as the prophet Isaiah wrote, “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken.” Yet death couldn’t hold Him. He rose from the grave and promised us a new life, a life that we can live today.
Maybe you are searching too? You can enjoy this new life and this peace, when you give the control of your life in the hands of Him, Who loves you and has given His life for you.
Shalom! May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob free you and give you peace in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!
Baroech Hasjem! Praise the Lord!