After a two-year break due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the International March of the Living took place on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) on 28 April this year. The theme of March was to emphasize how important it is to transfer responsibility for memory and education about the Holocaust to the next generation, the grandchildren of those who survived the dark days of German oppression and the systematic destruction of more than 6 million Jews, Poles and many other nationalities.
As the Shalom Ministry Association in Oświęcim, this year we participated in the March of the Living only in a small group, together with some wartime refugees from Ukraine, who were invited by the organizers of March.
It was at this difficult time when the war in Ukraine continues, we could not only participate in the March of the Living but also light one of the six candles dedicated to all the Righteous Among the Nations, who risked their lives to save many Jews from the German Holocaust.
During this ceremony, the organizers of the March also noted the participation of the Shalom Ministry Association in Oświęcim for over twenty years in the annual March of the Living, as well as its long-standing assistance to the Jewish people in Ukraine, especially during this time of war, where aid is provided not only in Ukraine but also to the war refugees whom we care for in our country.
This act was very symbolic for us, because today and with the war in Ukraine, are all facing new challenges. Today’s world also needs those righteous people, who will stand in unity, to save the lives and health of those Jews in Ukraine who are in no way able to escape the atrocities of this war.
We are grateful to God for each of you who take this effort of righteousness to contribute practically through prayer and financial support to the salvation of our dear descendants of Abraham in Ukraine. Just as one of the survivors of the Holocaust told us years ago: “You are all, through your attitude full of love and commitment, who are today’s Righteous Among the Nations.”
Due to old age, numerous illnesses and the unimaginable stress caused by Russian aggression, our dear friends in Ukraine all the time, even in the face of this war, are fighting against time. They are increasingly weaker and need our support and assistance even more than ever.
It is very telling that there were seventy survivors from the Holocaust two years ago in the March of the Living, while only eight of them were present this year.
We see that those who are living witnesses to this terrible history are leaving us at a shocking tempo. 91-year-old Holocaust survivor, Eve Kugler, who has been participating in the March of the Living, said: “More than ever it is clear that words like “never again” are not enough. How much worse will it be when the survivors are just a distant memory? This was likely the last year that the survivors of the Holocaust participated in the March of the Living. Faced with such a desperate race against time, it is important not only to preserve the memory of what happened in the past, which none of us will change, but it is equally important to remember those who are still alive and count on our memory combined with practical help. This is the present, which through our attitude and daily decisions we can still influence.
The annual 3.2 kilometre March from Auschwitz to Birkenau ended the traditional ceremony at the remains of the Auschwitz-Birkenau crematorium. In addition to eight Holocaust survivors, this March was attended by Polish President Andrzej Duda, Mayor of Jerusalem Maoshe Lion, former Chief Rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau, IDF cantor Shai Abramson, and other well-known personalities of the world of politics and culture.
It seems that everything or almost everything has been said about the very complex situation regarding the so-called immigration crisis. However, the events of recent days have exceeded our wildest predictions and calculations.
The war still continues, and already more than one and a half million Ukrainian citizens have come to our country, mostly women and children. As the Shalom Ministry Association in Oświęcim, we have been organizing aid for our dear friends in Ukraine for many years and the war that is raging in this country tears out our hearts.
When we were in Przemyśl and at the border that we have crossed for decades, we saw, on the one hand, enormous misery and human drama, disconnected families, whose fathers and loved ones had to remain in order to fight for the freedom of their country. On the other hand, we have seen the great hearts of our countrymen, who devote their time, money and other material resources to help lost and frightened refugees.
As the Shalom Ministry Association in Oświęcim, we brought and hosted around 40 people who come from Vinnytsia, and some of them are associated with one of the cafeterias. They are successively deployed to places of longer stay. The situation is developing very dynamically and at any moment we could receive a signal about another group of refugees in need of assistance. We earnestly ask you to pray for God’s wisdom and strength to cope with these unexpected and urgent needs.
However, our dear friends who have remained in Ukraine also need our prayer and financial support very much (while it can be given).
Let us entrust them to the Lord, for due to their age and health they are unable to escape anywhere. Only the Lord Almighty can protect them.
May the Lord bless you and reward your prayer and financial support in all these needs.
We are extremely grateful to God for the fact that from 03.07.2021 to 17.07.2021 that under the Remove the Stones project, we were able to organize for the 18th time the journey of a 14-person group from Israel to Poland.
We spent time together resting and sightseeing but most importantly meditating on God’s Word and prayer.
We chose Oświęcim as our base for this rest, which in its past experienced a cruel German occupation which brought with it the death and destruction of thousands of Polish and European Jews in the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, built near the town. In taking our dear friends here, to Oświęcim, we clearly saw that the God of Israel, who is the Lord of history, changed this place which, especially for the Jews, has been and is associated with death and destruction, into a place of life and blessing for His nation.
We saw how God blessed each of us, and in the hearts of our dear invited guests the Holy Spirit worked through the Word of God.
Many of these people experienced in their lives contempt, hatred and suffering of the Holocaust, and now live in Israel in cities such as Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot have recently experienced one of the largest rocket attacks by Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas. Over 4,500 rockets were fired in these three small cities in a short time. For many of these older people invited by us, these were the traumatic experiences, drawn from the life of the past war, which they experienced so painfully.
However, during this stay in Poland, they experienced love and kindness which deeply affected their hearts. During meals together they said they never experienced such treatment from other people. They frequently asked us questions about why they were met with such love, kindness and goodness. This was a great opportunity to tell them about their Messiah Yeshua, who changed our lives and gave us love for His nation. Our dear friends could see this through meetings in churches and relationships established with many people who love His people Israel through Messiah Yeshua.
During an evening farewell in Oświęcim, everyone could talk about their experiences during their rest in Poland. In the eyes of our guests we saw tears of joy and gratitude to God, who allowed them to spend this unforgettable time in Poland. This project was called “Remove the Stones” as it is written in the book of Isaiah 62:10: “Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones.”. During this time we were able to see how many stones were removed from the lives of our dear guests. What touched them most was that they had suffered so much in their lives because of anti-Semitism, and here they had received love and respect from the people they met. Then we told them that they see only some of these people because there are many more people in Poland who pray and love God’s chosen nation. We are grateful to God for this time. We are also thankful for you and your support of us in this ministry of mercy and consolation to Israel. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” Is. 40:1.
AFTER THE WAR
It’s been two weeks since the ceasefire between the Hamas and Israel began. We had 4,360 missiles launched at Israel from Gaza which were aimed purposely at population centers. The Iron Dome which is the Israeli anti-missile defense system was able to intercept 90% of the missiles aimed at the population centers. What may be surprising to many is that each Iron Dome mobile battery launcher has a price tag of about $100 million and each interception missile fired costs Israel $50,000. In contrast, Hamas missiles are domestically made while others were smuggled in from Iran, and the cost is $800 per missile. Even though war is extremely expensive and puts a heavy burden on the tax payer, Israel
has declared that the value of human lives whether on the Israeli side or the Gazan side overrides the cost. Even with that, and Israelis going into bomb shelters at all hours of the day and night, we suffered 12 deaths during the 11 day operation, 11 civilians and one soldier, with many wounded. Our missiles were aimed to hit specific military and Hamas operational offices, weapons launchers, weapons depots, tunnels and buildings like communication centers, and not random population centers. The Israelis destroyed 100 kilometers (60 miles) of tunnels in Gaza. These highly sophisticated tunnels are used to move troops, weapons, and supplies, and are used as bomb shelters for the Hamas senior leaders. One of the main reasons they were built is to be able to travel underground unhindered throughout Gaza and to pop up in different areas by surprise as the entrances are very well camouflaged and many entrances are located in hospitals, in kindergartens, and residences. This is in order to ambush, kill and kidnap Israeli ground troops if they would have entered on the ground as in previous wars. Some tunnels are not that deep, no more than 3 meters (10 feet) while others are at least 20 meters (65 feet) deep in the ground, which is 6 stories down.
Over 200 Hamas militants were killed in Gaza including 25 Senior Hamas leaders. Some Gazans were killed and wounded by the many missiles that were misfired and fell on their own civilians. There were also two explosive laden drones (suicide drones) that were shot down by the Israelis before they were able to achieve their objectives. We also had cyber attacks from the Hamas, as well, and all these things being aided by Iranian military advisors. All major airlines cancelled flights to Israel, diverting them to other countries as missiles were targeting our international airport which was then shut down. All schools in the south and center of the country were shut down in order to keep children safe with their families, next to their bomb shelters as sirens sounded practically every hour night and day with barrages of missiles being fired constantly, trying to overwhelm the Iron Dome system and the security services.
Missiles were launched on three different occasions from Lebanon on our northern border. They either fell in the ocean, didn’t make it over the border into Israel or fell in open spaces. One missile was intercepted by Israel. Neither the Lebanese government or the Hezbollah terrorist, Iranian backed organization claimed responsibility for the failed attacks. Israel answered by striking the positions from where the missiles were fired. There were no injuries on either side.
Throughout the conflict I have been keeping in close contact with the ex-Muslim believers and by God’s grace they have been trying to take care of one another during this time, praying and encouraging themselves through God’s Word. This is the beginning of victory and in this I do rejoice.
This morning I had an opportunity to meet with and speak to some of my Muslim friends who are not believers, and we talked very frankly behind closed doors. These are people that I have developed friendships with over the years, while sharing the Good News that Yeshua died on the cross for forgiveness of sins and resurrected for Jews and Arabs alike. They have received Bibles and literature also.By the grace of God I have gained their trust and we can speak openly. They don’t live in a free society, and if their opinion does not match their political leaders’ narrative, it is highly dangerous for them and their families, whether they live here or abroad. They said “We gained nothing in this conflict. We lost many lives and the families with their children whose homes were destroyed because the Hamas leadership in Gaza used them as human shields in the conflict, are living in the streets, and will remain homeless for a long time. The leaders were sitting in their air conditioned shelters while the poor people bear the consequences. Even though millions of dollars and Euros will be pouring in from the international community”, they said, “we assure you that the omeless
will never benefit from it.” They said, “Israelis lost their homes due to missiles but your government will help them to recover, but our leaders will put the money straight into their pockets, distribute it to their close friends and family, and will rebuild the underground tunnels in Gaza for the next war.”
It is important to understand that for those who are Islamic fundamentalists like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah and others like them, Islam forbids them to make permanent peace treaties with “the infidels”, Christians whom they call the Sunday people and Jews, whom they call the Saturday people . In their charters it is stated that their aim is to destroy Israel and eradicate the nation from the region and return the land back to Islam. So they make it very clear that this is just a short break until the next war. This ceasefire is called a “Hudna” in Arabic which is defined in Islam as a truce or ceasefire for a certain duration until the enemy is weak enough for Islam to overcome it. At this particular point their strategy is for the war to be broadened inside of Israel itself and for jihadists and their people who are living in Israel to carry on a third intifada (uprising), to carry out terror attacks and provoking Israeli Arabs to join in violent attacks and protests with the aim to divide Jewish and Arab friendships. Israel has been waging a media campaign with commercials featuring Israeli Jews and Arabs who have worked together and lived together in unity for decades, saying they do not agree with violent protests and hate. Of course their campaign of misinformation to the Western World continues along with objectives to carry out attacks on Jewish communities and institutions. Another goal is their campaign of
intimidation and fear on Western governments and individuals by their violent protests. The Bible says that Yeshua and His love are the perfect bond of unity. Everything that is taking place has already been prophesied in God’s Word and is a preview of things to come. The main thing as Yeshua said, is to preach the Good News to all the nations, and to keep watch and be prepared for His coming. If death knocks on our doors before this, that we should be ready on that day. Please pray for both the Jews and Arabs.
1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion.
They will never be shaken.
They will continue forever.
2 Like the mountains that surround Jerusalem,
the Lord surrounds and protects his people now and forever.
Links to the particular days will appear on the channel according to the schedule:
Thursday from 4 p.m.
Friday-Sunday from 9.30 a.m.
THE MINISTRY OF MERCY IN THE SHADOW OF A PADNDEMIC
We encourage you to watch the movie below which shows how the ministry of mercy for our dear ones in Shepetivka looks like.
Despite the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, our dear ones have not be left without help and all the necessary things that allow them to function in these diffucult times.
Conference 27-30 August 2020
Due to the continual pandemic of COVID-19 we decided to organize our annual international conference “From Holocaust to Living Hope” online.
It will be held from the 27th to the 30th of August 2020.
Please, pray for this conference and follow the updates about it on our website.
Dear Friends, with gratefulnes to God, we want to inform you that our dear ones from Shepetivka came back to the soup kitchen. Taking into account the sanitary restrictions connected with still dangerous virus COVID-19, they decided to restart the daily meals. We thank God for His mercy and your help and prayers in this difficult for all of us time.
Below we present you a film from Ina and Yura from Vinnitsa in Ukraine as their gratitude and thankfulness.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support for the ministry for the Jewish people in the Ukraine.
In Ukraine, where our friends and volunteer team are active as always helping many needy Jewish people, severe restrictions have been imposed because of the coronavirus.
However, our dear friends are not wasting their time.
Now the corona restrictions forbid opening all the soup kitchens which we support.
Because of this fact, we are faced with a challenge how to not stop providing food and medicine for the poor members of the communities – often Holocaust survivors – in these circumstances.
From 22 September to 9 October 2019 once again as the Shalom Ministry Association in Oświęcim, we hosted a Jewish group from Ukraine and Israel for a time of rest in Poland. The name of this project is called “Removing the stones” and connects to the Book of Isaiah 62:10-11. At that time we were able to stay at a sanatorium in Kołobrzeg, where our dear friends benefited from medical treatment and rest. But the most important for us was the daily meditation on the Word of God in which was shown the path of God’s love to man which God demonstrated in His Son - Yeshua Messiah. We’ll write more about this project in our next information and prayer letter.
From 5 to 14 September this year we went again to Ukraine in order to coordinate the work we conduct there.
In the framework of the trip, we visited the cafeterias in which we serve daily meals and a number of places where food packages are sent. We were also able to see the current situation regarding medical needs, which, unfortunately, are increasing every time we come here. We also visited the sick in the hospital, the old people’s home and the social welfare centre. Each time we were met with great gratitude and thanks to everyone involved in sending aid to Ukraine.
With joy and gratitude we pass on to you all the thanks and blessings sent to you for your sacrificial hearts, from our elder brothers living in the diaspora in Ukraine.
A detailed description of our trip we’ll place in the October information and prayer letter.
We encourage you to listen to the lecture given by David Friedman during the 22th conference "From Holocaust to Living Hope" organized by Shalom Ministry Association and held from the 22nd to the 25th August 2019 in Oświęcim. At the same time we encourage you to buy MP3s with all the lectures from the conference.
A NOTE FROM THE 22ND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FROM THE HOLOCAUST TO LIVING HOPE HELD 22-25 AUGUST 2019 IN OŚWIĘCIM
From 22 to 25 August in Oświęcim was held the 22nd international conference “From the Holocaust to Living Hope”. Apart from Poles, we hosted participants from many countries: Israel, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, the United States, Romania, England, Moldova, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Ukraine. As a Church of various nationalities, in the atmosphere of the Holy Spirit, we could experience fellowship with God, who through His Word revealed to us His goals regarding Israel and the Church in the Kingdom of God.
Introductory Lecture to the 22nd International Conference
„From Holocaust to Living Hope”
Organized by Shalom Ministry Association
from the 22nd to the 25th of August 2019
Lecture about the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the beginning WWII.
The lecture was a part of XXII international conference organized
by Shalom Ministry Association in Oświęcim
„From Holocaust to Living Hope”
Our yearly international conference “From Holocaust to Living Hope” organized by Shalom Ministry Association in Oświęcim took place from the 17th to the 20th of August 2017. We are grateful to God for this blessed time.
We will write more about it in our next Information and Prayer Letter.
We encourage you to take part in our next year’s conference which will be held from the 22nd to the 25th of August 2019.
Our yearly international conference “From Holocaust to Living Hope” organized by Shalom Ministry Association in Oświęcim took place from the 17th to the 20th of August 2017. It was the 20th anniversary conference. We are grateful to God for this blessed time.
We will write more about it in our next Information and Prayer Letter.
We encourage you to take part in our next year’s conference which will take place from the 23rd to the 26th of August 2018.
We encourage you to watch this video from the March of the Living in which we took part as a group called Polish Friends of Israel
In the ministry for God’s chosen people we are more and more convinced not only about the need of a practical support for the descendents of Abraham in Diaspora as we already have been doing formany years. But now we are also strongly sure about the importance of the practical help and ministry for the Jews in the Land of Israel. That’s why we were in Israel.
We went there with prayers for God’s guidance. We asked the Lord to show us further directions of acting in the ministry for His people in the Land of Israel.Meetings with people who survived the Holocaust and particularly Auschwitz-Birkenau were such a strong emotional experience for us. Those Jews were born and spent their youth in Poland. They people survived the hell of the Holocaust in their life.
We feel that it is one of the directions for our ministry in Israel to keep in contact with such people in order to remember them, show them our love and also present them Yeshua the Messiah.
Another direction in this ministry, which we feel God called us to, is a step towards the needs of the Holocaust survivors from the former Soviet Union. Their situation is not so good in many aspects. Our heart’s desire is not only to remember them, but also to help them in a practical way. For us it is a “living memory” because to remember the Holocaust is not enough. We need to remember people who are still alive and many times they need us in they problems and needs.
Please keep us in your prayers in order to develop this ministry in Israel. Let us trust God of Israel. Only He is the One who is “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12,2).
Dear Friends, In the ministry for God’s chosen people we are more and more convinced not only about the need of a practical support for the descendents of Abraham in Diaspora as we already have been doing for many years. But now we are also strongly sure about the importance of the practical help and ministry for the Jews in the Land of Israel.