|אהרן מאיר אייכענשטיין הי''ד|
All his children lived in Europe except for one daughter who lived with her husband in America.
This was during a troubled era for European Jewry. Much of his offspring gravitated to the lure of a bankrupt, secular "Zionism", but several held tightly and mightily to live the Torah life.
He went to the Germans to ask what they required for documentation in order for him to leave for America. They provided him with a list of requirements. His daughter in America sent him all that he needed. When he showed up again at the German office with his documentation in hand, they said, “You have, in fact, everything required – except for one thing: You need to shave off your beard!”
Because he refused they shipped him off to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they burned him.
The above was probably his passport picture.
About 10 years ago, at a simchah in Boro Park, an elderly gentleman approached me and asked if my name is אייכנשטיין. I said Yes. He said he knew my grandfather because he had been “shipped” to Auschwitz in the very same cattle-car as was my grandfather. My grandfather, he said, told everybody inside that cattle-car they should know that this “trip” they were on – will be the last trip of their lives. He said, when they were unloaded onto the platform at Auschwitz, my grandfather actually started dancing!
I bring this anecdote to your attention because Jews in the Holocaust offered their lives in self-sacrifice to Hashem for being Jewish, and proud of it.
I'd venture to say that very deep down every Jew who gave his life, in the face of then European "humanity", had to have harbored even a slight touch of happiness.