May 5, 2001
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS BECOME CHRISTIAN
The picture of Marion Parkhurst, 89,
appeared in an ad published by TIME, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report,
New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Talk and People.
''Some say you can't be Jewish and believe
in Jesus. I disagree,'' the ad copy begins. ''But before you dismiss my
belief, you should know that in addition to being Jewish, I'm also a
Holocaust Survivor...All I ask is that you hear my story and those of
several other remarkable Jews who have suffered greatly and now truly
believe in Jesus.''
The ad, sponsored by Jews For Jesus,
invites readers to order a free copy of a Survivor Series video by
calling 1-800-MESSIAH. In a week, 10,000 did so.
ABC, CBS, NBC and many cable channels were
offered an ad, but refused to air it.
Why? ''We have a
policy of not accepting advertising that proselytizes,'' CBS told me.
So much for freedom of the press.
I saw the powerful video, which tells of
seven Jews who somehow survived
concentration camps, were restored and ultimately transformed by Jesus.
But it only whet my curiosity to interview two of these remarkable
Marion Parkhurst confessed, ''My Jewish
people do not understand. They think I am a traitor.
Jews have been persecuted for 2000 years in the name of Jesus.''
She and her first husband were ''put on
cattle trains, treated horribly'' and sent to Bergen-Belsen in 1943. She
was three months pregnant. Later, very weakened, Marion gave birth, but
the child died.
The infamous Dr. Mengele, who conducted
gruesome medical experiments on Jews, came to her barrack.
An aide pointed to Marion, saying ''This young woman had a baby who
died.'' Mengele replied, ''Good.'' She said nothing but, ''I could have
''The next day, Mengele came back to my
bed, and said, `Here, take this. It might help you to survive.'
It was a bottle of vitamins.'' Daily she saw horses pulling
cartloads of nude bodies.
One day, SS guards shouted, ''Everybody
take their stuff and start walking. We will evacuate.''
Her husband was very sick and unable to walk.
But people who fell were shot. For two miles, Marion practically
carried him with ''supernatural power.''
They got on a train that was freed by U.S. troops.
In 1947, the couple came to California and
had another child. They met Jewish Christians, who invited them to
church. Marion refused. ''I didn't want to hear anything.
They said, `If you want to be heathen, OK, but can we take your
daughter to church?''' The 4-year-old came home with little Bible
verses, John 3:16, and stories to be read.
''I became curious, and asked, ''Where is
this in the Bible?'' Her friends gave her one, and she started reading.
''I saw the Messiah all over the Old Testament. I do not know how people
can not see it. When I read Isaiah 53, I was convicted. `But he was
pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. The
punishment that brought us peace was upon him.
By his wounds we are healed,''' she recited from memory.
The Anti-Defamation League labeled the Jews
for Jesus campaign ''deceptive and offensive'' in a press release.
Abraham Foxman, ADL National Director, who is a Holocaust survivor, is
quoted, ''By emphasizing the Holocaust, Jews for Jesus is using the
darkest chapter in the history of Judaism - the persecution and
annihilation of European Jews - to attempt to mislead survivors and
their children about their history and faith.
It is impossible for a person who is Jewish to worship Jesus.''
Marion disagrees: ''All the Apostles were
Jews. The New Testament was mostly written by Jews. Only Luke was not.
How can you be a Jew and not believe in Jesus?''
Dr. Vera Schlamm, who was also in
Bergen-Belsen, came to America at age 24. She entered college and became
a pediatrician. A pastor who brought his child to her, ''gently
witnessed to me.''
''I started reading the Bible, beginning in
Genesis 1. I wanted to know
what God wanted for me since He had been so good to me. I read Isaiah
7:14: `Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. The virgin will
be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.'
I was struck by the word virgin. I thought it was a Catholic
belief. To find it in Isaiah was an eye-opener.
''The whole Chapter 53 had to be talking
about Jesus. I looked it up
in the temple, and the meaning was the same.''
When she told her ailing father she
believed in Jesus, he said, ''If you want me to die, go right ahead.'' He lived nine more years, and eventually became a believer.
Copyright 2001 Michael J.