I sincerely feel I would be remiss if I did not share with you today a little more detail about the life testimony of my brother Ruben, the reason being that he was a genuine hero and not too many people outside his family were aware of it. As most of you know, the Lord called him home exactly two weeks ago on the day of his and his wife’s (Paula) anniversary, at the age of 88. She died a few years before him. Just to give you a glimpse of his character, he voluntarily checked himself into the nursing home on the day Paula was admitted just to be with her, even though she no longer knew him due to alzheimers.
While in the Army, my brother Ruben, still in his teens, was captured by German forces in 1944. He was placed in a concentration camp in Bergen Belsen because the Germans thought he was a Jewish US soldier. As many of you can imagine, he suffered cruel indignities at the hands of his captors, and when he was at last freed by allied forces in 1945, he weighed less than 80 pounds. I can’t tell you in more detail the horrors he experienced because I was 4 years old when he was freed, and also because he very rarely spoke of his experiences there. I can tell you that his name is recorded in the National Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and that you can find extensive historical information on the internet about Bergen Belsen. If I’m not mistaken, Anne Frank died there too. Here is an excerpt of some reflections I wrote about him which I shared in his funeral services:
“Perhaps some of you missed it, but we had a real hero in our midst. It is understandable if many of you just saw him as dad, uncle, or grandpa, but if he was not a hero because of his war experiences, he was a hero to many of us just by being the person that he was. It would have been great had a president or some dignitary pinned a medal on his chest while crowds cheered and a band played. He never got that, but I can guarantee you this: One day soon, if it hasn’t happened already, the Savior my brother Ruben loved so dearly will tell him: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” No earthly ceremony can ever top that. Many who are here today, have had heroes in your life as well. Perhaps most people outside you family never knew them but they were heroes indeed. Love them, appreciate them, and especially thank God for them, even if they are now in Heaven.”
Memory Verse for the week: (1 John 2:25) And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.