On a beautiful sunny day in June, Helping Hand Coalition (HHC) hosted a special ‘Shalom House’ for 54 Holocaust Survivors from the town of Lod. The gathering took place at the HHC headquarters in Caesarea.
HHC founders Andre and Bozena Gasiorowski, welcomed the Survivors as well as special guests from the “Back to Zion” organisation from Germany. Its chairman, Alexander Dietze, shared about his awful shock at seeing evidence of his own family’s involvement in the Holocaust when his grandfather gifted him the medals he had received from the Nazis.
From the first to the last minute, the team of German guests, volunteers and HHC team were serving and welcoming the precious elderly people with a heart full of love and affection, tenderness and honour, playing music and preparing lunch for them.
Andre Gasiorowski shared stories about his family being saved during World War II in Poland and Bozena shared about her own family, who were Christians, saving the lives of Jewish families in the time of Holocaust.
The meeting culminated in an atmosphere of repentance and forgiveness when a young Pastor from Germany bowed his knees and fulfilled a lifelong dream to come before the people of Israel and ask for forgiveness on behalf of his nation, Germany,
There was not a dry eye in the room as the Survivors moved from sorrow for the past, to acceptance of this young man’s gesture. The power of forgiveness let the partakers of this incredible event leave for home with a bit more healing in their heart and a wonderful memory of their time at the Shalom House.
“Thank you for these events. We need these kind of Shalom House events. These events, they touch our souls and they bring us life. Thank you so very much for these…”
- shared by Rachel, a Holocaust survivor who made Aliyah from Ukraine many years ago
What is a Shalom House?
‘Shalom House’ is the name HHC have given to their special gatherings for Holocaust Survivors. Groups from different parts of the country are invited to a ‘Shalom House’ event where they are blessed with good food and entertainment and opportunities to share their own stories. Life in Israel is incredibly tough for these brave souls with many living below the poverty line. HHC has a programme to provide financial help but the Shalom House events are different - they are healing for their souls. The word ‘Shalom’ doesn’t just mean peace. It also implies healing and wholeness and this is the purpose of Shalom House events. From the moment they walk in, the Survivors are showered with love and honour. Christian groups from overseas come to bless them with songs and dance and to express to them that they are not forgotten - that they are loved by Christians. This helps to change the narrative from the belief that Christians hate them - like the Nazis in the Holocaust - to the realisation that there are Christians who are full of love and care. This is incredibly healing and many of the Survivors are moved to tears.
WITH YOUR SUPPORT, SHALOM HOUSE GATHERINGS WILL CONTINUE TO BRING HOPE AND HEALING TO HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS LIVING IN ISRAEL donate here