Sunday, January 05, 2014

Dad's Dad - One of 6 Million

  אהרן מאיר אייכענשטיין  הי''ד
This father of 10 lived in Czechoslovakia during Germany's WWII occupation. He had left Poland, where his surname was פרידלנדר, and adopted his wife’s surname as a precaution against Poles who might pursue him to draft him into their army.

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.


  1. "...they shipped him off to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they burned him..."
    A gentle correction:

    Only bodies were burned, but "him"--the soul, the true essence of the Jew--they did not and could not burn. Apparently your grandfather understood this, and was able to dance his way to sanctify Hashem's name, to be one of the "kedoshim".

  2. Yes, Yankele, of course.

    I remember being "thrown" recently for a simple truth that Tanya teaches:

    - that the ultimate point of creation will come when all souls from Gan Eden will come back HERE, in this world of Assiyah, for HERE is where Hashem wants "to make His residence!".

    In other words, all those souls will again be brought back into their bodies to live out the Sabbatical Redemptive Era - here in this world.

  3. That is to say, we usually believe the ULTIMATE place to be, eventually, is GAN EDEN - when, in fact, THIS WORLD is the ultimate theatre wherein the future will play itself out.

  4. BTW: אהרן מאיר אייכענשטיין ע''ה
    Should be: אהרן מאיר אייכענשטיין הי"ד

    (Hashem yinkom damo)

  5. Wow, this is so touching. I often get caught up in the "things" world. This freezes time for me, for a moment to realize what really is important... There is no doubt you guys are related!

  6. Dave of Massacheusetts - I love you and wish you well!