Moshe Flinker: December 3, 1942

Moshe Flinker was a young man who wanted the world to make sense. He tried to discern patterns in the seemingly chaotic events of his time. He used his diary as a sounding board, trying out theories that might explain the baffling circumstances that overcame his life during World War II. Unfortunately, he lived under Nazi rule at a time when things made very little sense at all.

Moshe was deeply religious. As a Jew, he was directly threatened by the antisemitic policies of the Nazis. On one hand, he yearned to resist the Nazis openly. He had no desire to apologize for being Jewish. He had written the day before about his faith in God’s deliverance. Undoubtedly, he would have preferred to express this belief openly before his friends and acquaintances. On the other hand, he knew that he and his family should try to avoid capture and deportation. That required him to try to conceal his Jewish identity from many of the very same friends and acquaintances. The only place he could express himself openly was in his diary.

On December 2nd, Moshe wrote that the victory of England in the war would have the unintended consequence of diminishing the faith of Jewish people in the delivering power of God. As a result, he envisioned that the war would take a different course. He thought that perhaps the Germans would come near to victory on all fronts until, at the last moment, the Lord of Israel would bring triumph and deliverance that none could doubt. Moshe’s theory was a shining example of religious faith in the face of adversity. The very next day, though, he wrote “The Russian offensive on the eastern front continues, but I think nothing will come of it. No news from the other fronts. Today is the eve of Hanukkah, but I have the feeling that this Hanukkah will pass, as have so many others, without a miracle or anything resembling one.”

Do Moshe’s words mean that he had somehow lost his faith in miraculous deliverance between the 2nd and 3rd of December? This would be an unfair interpretation. Instead, Moshe probably believed that the required conditions for the awaited miracle had not yet fully developed. This was not a denial of faith, but a call to steadfastness that Moshe was ready to accept.

Excerpts from Moshe Flinker’s diary have been published in a book entitled, Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder.

Moshe Flinker interpreted the history that was unfolding around him through the lens of his religious beliefs. Click here to read about the ideas of others who have done the same with regard to the Holocaust.

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