Moshe Flinker was fully aware of the perilous situation he faced as a Jewish person living under Nazi rule. He was born in Holland and experienced the onset of persecution that began with the German invasion of his country during World War II. His situation took a dramatic turn for the worse in July 1942 when his family received notice of their impending deportation to the east. Moshe’s father was a successful businessman and decided to use his wealth and contacts to help his family to escape. Like Otto Frank, Noah Flinker decided to take his family into hiding, but he decided to try a different strategy than his famous counterpart. Instead of finding a physical hiding place, the Flinkers obtained false identification papers, crossed the border illegally into Belgium and took up residence in Brussels living as non-Jews.
It was very painful for Moshe to try to pass as non-Jewish. He was a pious young man and understood his world and the events transpiring around him through the lens of his religious identity. It was this view of life that compelled him to make the following observation on December 2, 1942. “The small detail I mentioned above is the following: most of the Jews think that redemption and salvation depend on the victory of England. Now if England wins, most of the Jews (even those who wish to be redeemed) will be able to say that not the Lord but England saved them.” Moshe did not share the opinion that victory by the Allies would save the Jewish people from destruction at the hands of the Nazis. He took the opposite view. He explained, “The victor in this war that we are living through will not be either of the opposing sides, but God; not England and not America, but the Lord of Israel will triumph. I think that before this final victory, Germany will win on almost all fronts, and when it will seem that she has almost won, the Lord will approach with his sword and will conquer. Obviously my outlook is a religious one. I hope to be excused for this, for had I not religion, I would never find any answer at all to the problems that confront me.”
Moshe Flinker’s diary is a testament to his unshakable faith. He did not claim to understand everything about the events that he witnessed, nor did he hold back from questioning himself and his people, but he did not doubt the power, judgment or ultimate justice of God. His belief was so strong that he could even contemplate victory by Nazi Germany, not as a complete disaster, but rather as a step in the unfolding of a divine plan. Clearly, Moshe resisted the Nazis in the way that meant the most to him. He did not allow their persecution and hatred to move him from the firm foundation of his faith.
Excerpts from Moshe Flinker’s diary have been published in a book entitled, by Alexandra Zapruder.
Click here to read an article about Jewish spiritual resistance and about how this topic can be included in the study of the Holocaust.
June 22 to June 26
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