There were many, many words spoken yesterday during the services for Yom Kippur, our Day for Atonement. But out of the silence of a time of reflection yesterday afternoon came these words by Hugo Gryn.
I did not learn this lesson about faith in a theological college, that came much later, but in a miserable little concentration camp in German Silesia grotesquely called Lieberose, “Lovely Rose”. It was the cold winter of 1944 and although we had nothing like calendars, my father, who was my fellow prisoner there, took me and some of our friends to a corner in our barrack. He announced that it was the eve of Chanukah, produced a curious-shaped bowl, and began to light a wick immersed in his precious, but now melted, margarine ration. Before he could recite the blessing, I protested at this waste of food. He looked at me – then at the lamp – and finally said: “You and I have seen that it is possible to live up to three weeks without food. We once lived almost three days without water; but you cannot live properly for three minutes without hope.