It’s a new year! Need some direction for your life?
This is a true story from the Sobibor Nazi concentration camp. It was located near the Bug River in a stretch of woods that separated Poland and Russia. It’s estimated that approximately 250 thousand Jews died there.
On October 14, 1943, Jewish slaves in Sobibor stunned their guards by using their shovels and pickaxes as weapons. Of the 700 prisoners who participated in the attack, 300 made it to the woods. Of those, less than one hundred are known to have survived. Most of them were captured and executed.
One of those who survived the escape was Thomas Blatt, or Toivi, as he was called in his native Polish. Toivi was 15 years old when his family was incarcerated at Sobibor. His parents were killed in the gas chamber. Toivi was made a slave laborer.
Toivi and two of his friends escaped into the dense forest. During the day, they buried themselves and slept. At night, they crawled through the thick brush. The boys had a lot going for them, youth, energy, and the hope that freedom was close. But what they needed most they didn’t have, a guide, someone who could read the stars and tell north from south. As city boys, they were clueless as they tried to navigate the terrain.
After four nights of groveling through the frozen forest, the boys spotted a building silhouetted against the dark sky in the distance. Could this be a place of refuge? Hope soared in their hearts. That is, until they got a little closer and realized that the building was the east tower of the Sobibor concentration camp. They had circled through the woods and landed in the same place where they had started. Can you imagine the frustration?
Have you or someone you know had a similar experience in life? You exert yourself trying to escape from a life without purpose. Since you lack the skills to navigate through this complex world, you come back full circle to where you started. Just like the Wise Men in the Nativity story had a light to guide them, you can follow a light through life. Or you could just keep going around in circles, your choice.