The Author


I had the privilege of meeting Eugene Greenbaum, a Holocaust survivor on Rosh Hashana in a nearby care facility for the aged. After I blew the Shofar, he related the following episode:

The Nazis stood over a group of Jews who were about to be shot. They ordered them to dig their own mass grave. Upon completion, a brave Jew stepped forward and begged for one last wish.

The SS animal had pity on the helpless Jew and granted it. The Jew announced to all the Jews present that it was Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, the day of true judgment.

Although we are at the brink of absolute death, he told them, I have with me a Shofar. We should die with one last mitzvah (Torah commandment).

He then proceeded with the blessing before blowing the Shofar and Shehecheyanu – “Blessed are You Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day” – and blew 100 sounds.

In the nearby forest, the partisans were stunned to hear the Shofar and followed the sound, only to find a live image of the laughing SS scum standing over a group of Jews with their machine guns to their heads and a Jew in the center blowing the Shofar. With no time to waste the partisans opened fire and killed every Nazi in sight, freeing the whole group of Jews. Unfortunately, one was wounded.


Article by Eli Schlanger

Rabbi Eli Schlanger, originally from London, is a Chabad emissary in the Bondi Beach suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.