After almost 60 years, Holocaust survivor Gizella Abramson met American liberator Mr. Tom Brown of Forest City, North Carolina. Mr. Brown served in the 81st Field Artillery Battalion attached to the 89th Infantry Division responsible for the liberation of Ohrdruf Concentration Camp in Germany. Witnessed by students and graduates from the Word of Faith Christian School, Mrs. Abramson expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Brown by saying:
“On behalf of Holocaust survivors all over the world, I want to thank you.”
It was a moving moment for Mrs. Abramson, Mr. Brown, and for all who were present at a special event held at a local college.
Gizella Abramson is noted for being forever grateful to the United States for helping to liberate the Jews during World War II, and she honors our country whenever she sees the American flag as it represents the nation that gave her a voice to bear witness of her experience.
Karel Reynolds, Dr. Walter Ziffer, & Connie Davies
Walter Ziffer & friend (Painting by WFCS student)
Dr. Walter Ziffer
On several occasions, Word of Faith Christian School students and graduates have met and heard the testimony of Holocaust survivor Dr. Walter Ziffer at a local college. Dr. Ziffer, Professor of Theology and Hebrew at Mars Hill College, is pictured with Karel Reynolds, Holocaust instructor at a local college, and Connie Davies, an assistant in Holocaust studies.
Dr. Walter Ziffer is pictured with a portrait of himself as a young boy before Nazi occupation of Europe. Familiar with the photograph, Dr. Ziffer was surprised to see the oil painting and was thrilled to receive it as a gift from the students in Karel’s Holocaust class.
The second painting is of Dr. Ziffer as a teenager, along with his best friend whom he lost during the Holocaust.
Both paintings were presented to Dr. Ziffer at a local college event by Nahum Burgeson, who was a student in the Holocaust class and a graduate of the Word of Faith Christian School.
Walter Ziffer with WFCS students
David & Irene Mermelstein
David and Irene Mermelstein
Hungarian Holocaust survivors of Auschwitz concentration camp, David and Irene Mermelstein visited the Word of Faith Christian School and spoke at the Word of Faith Fellowship in July 2008.
The Mermelsteins shared their remarkable story about how they and eleven other Hungarian Holocaust survivors won a lawsuit against the United States government. Personal items seized by the Nazis and placed on “the Gold Train” were intercepted by American troops in 1945 and eventually lost. The Mermelsteins and their friends were compensated by the United States government, and monies received were placed in a special fund to care for Holocaust survivors in the United States.
David and Irene Mermelstein, Jane Whaley
Susan E. Cernyak-Spatz, Ph.D.
Dr. Susan E. Cernyak-Spatz
Dr. Spatz is a survivor of the Holocaust who worked for two years in “Canada,” the Nazi name for area within the Auschwitz concentration camp where victims’ stolen belongings were sorted and stored. She is a remarkable human being who survived Nazi atrocities. She is a powerful speaker who travels extensively in the United States and overseas; her travels have included speaking at universities in Germany. Dr. Spatz is a retired Professor Emeritus from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Students are overwhelmed with her testimony of survival and her in-depth knowledge of the Holocaust, even as she explains how the Nazi regime used IBM’s state-of-the-art technology to carry out the “Final Solution”—the murder of over six million Jews in Europe.
Morris & Riva Rosenblat
Morris & Riva Rosenblat, Karel Reynolds, Connie Davies
Morris and Riva Rosenblat
Karel and Connie had the tremendous privilege of meeting Morris and Riva Rosenblat at the Center of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies at Appalachian State University during the annual summer symposiums held for Holocaust scholars and educators. Morris shared with us his journey of survival from his boyhood experiences in the Polish town of Brzezinyin during Nazi occupation, to the Lodz Ghetto, to numerous labor and concentration camps, through death marches, to displaced persons camps after the war, and finally to his migration to Israel where he and his brother joined and fought with the Israeli army. He told us that fifty percent of those fighting in the Israeli army for the statehood of Israel were Holocaust survivors. His life is truly a remarkable story of God’s grace and keeping power. Riva survived the Holocaust as an infant born in the forest of the Soviet Union, where she and her family were in hiding to escape the Nazis. Morris and Riva were planning to visit Word of Faith Christian School after seeing our Holocaust exhibit at Appalachian State University. “I have to meet these children,” he said. With great regret, Morris and Riva never made it to our school. He passed away just months before his visit. This is a shocking reminder to us that the generation that witnessed and experienced the Holocaust will soon be only a memory.
One of the many precious memories during one of our visits with Morris was when he reached out to give Karel a hug. He had tears in his eyes, and so did Riva. He said to her, “I know you are a true Christian.” She looked at him and asked, “How do you know?” He said, “Because you are full of love; even your eyes are full of love. Only the true Christians that I have met have love like this.”
Word of Faith Christian School students met Morris Glass at Temple Israel in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he shared his horrific experience as a Jew living in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. Mr. Glass survived some of the most notorious camps and ghettos of the Holocaust, including Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps and the Lodz Ghetto in Poland. Pictured here is Mr. Glass studying the model of the Lodz Ghetto made by Word of Faith Christian School students as he points out the streets and locations he remembers as a child survivor of the Holocaust.