My father is filled with surprises and I found in his files, and boy does he have a lot, this article that appeared in Panorama Magazine in March 1979
Purim: A Time of Joy
The importance of Purim as a holiday of deliverance from death has served as an inspiration to the Jewish people many times throughout history. Even in the death camps of nazi Europe there were those who had that spark of hope. No matter where the Jewish people were, there were always those who carried that hope – in the ghettoes, in the camps, and in the forests.
In the Warsaw ghetto, there was a journal of everyday events kept by Emmanuel Ringlblum. On the 18th of March 1940, he told of the feelings at the Purim celebrations in the Warsaw Ghetto:
“There were assemblies in celebration of Purim this year. People hope for a new Purim to celebrate the downfall of the modern Haman, Hitler, one that will be commemorated as long as the Jewish People exist. The new Purim will surpass all previous Purims in Jewish History.”
In the concentration camps the nazis tried to destroy the Jewish people, not as a religious group, but as a physical threat to the Third Reich. The nazis saw the Jewish people as harmful to society, just as a doctor sees bacteria harmful to the health of people. So the nazis started out on a program to completely destroy the Jewish world, but that couldn’t be done.
Buchenwald, a concentration camp in Germany became the place where a young chasid, Yaakov Frankel, was sent. Many of the Jewish prisoners had lost faith and hope in Hashem. Yaakov Frankel and a. few friends decided to have small Purim celebration to lift up fallen spirits and restore faith and hope in Hashem.
From throughout the camp Frankel and his friends gathered all sorts of paper – a torn order from a nazi officer, a piece of a nazi newspaper with blank margins, or a coarse wrapping from a. bag of cement. After this collection of odds and ends was enough a great change took place. The scraps of paper slowly turned into the Megillah of Esther, Frankel and his friends using only one pencil wrote the megillah from their memories.
When the Fast of Esther was over on the night of Purim, all of the group gathered on the upper level of the block. A great number of less fortunate prisoners sensed that something was going to happen and they did not want to be left out. They declared:
“We too want to avenge the innocent blood of our families on the wicked Haman. Whatever you are up to don’t leave us out!”
The megillah was read at 11:00 pm to avoid the suspicions of the many nazi guards. Finally the reading of Megillas Esther began, the brachah al mikrah MegIllah could not be said because of the many different kinds of paper on which the megillah was written. The reading of the megillah changed many of the hearts of the oppressed prisoners and restored their faith in Hashem and their hopes for survival were renewed. After the reading of Megillas Esther all the men sang Shoshanas Yaakov.
The Jewish people have something that is so beautiful and yet many take it for granted. What right have we to forget these precious gifts, the very thing that made our people survive the fires and destruction of Hitler’s hell? Instead of forgetting about our very recent past let us forget the Amalekite hitler as we drown out the name of his ancestor Haman