Strong women all need a break here and there, but only so we can have more energy when we come back to fight. Overall, all women are strong women in our own way.
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Learn more about our summer program. Julius encouraged Etty to examine her thoughts, to journal, pray and meditate.
He was the catalyst for something she had been longing for: a tranquility and trust in herself. And a trust in life itself.
She practiced being completely honest with herself, as well as gentle and kind. The first bomb fell on the city of Rotterdam. Shock and fear set in. Soon after, restrictions on Jews began. They had to be registered and were fired from their jobs. Prohibited to use public transport. Suddenly, some of them were spat on in the streets. They were forbidden to have intimate relationships with non-Jews, later even forbidden to associate with them at all. As the atrocities around her intensified by the day, Etty chose to concentrate on her personal growth.
Some of her friends joined the Resistance; others, who were Jewish, went into hiding. A few committed suicide, not wanting to experience the inhumane conditions and violent death they foresaw. Others tried to continue life as well as they could and just hoped to survive. Etty began to journal, pray and meditate daily.
The content of her writing changed. Her yearning for a deeply spiritual life grew stronger each day. Her faith was not typically Jewish. It was not bound by any religious creed. She read the Bible, the writings of St. Augustine and various other Christian writers and mystics. And in it dwells God. Sometimes I am there, too. But more often stones and grit block the well, and God is buried beneath.
Then he must be dug out again. Over time, spiritual life became more real to her than physical life. At some point, a break with her former self became apparent…. I accept it. I know it now and I shall not burden others with my fears.
I shall not be bitter if others fail to grasp what is happening to us Jews. I work and continue to live with the same conviction, and I find life meaningful — yes, meaningful — although I hardly dare say so in company these days. Then, at a time where some of the Jewish people in the Netherlands were still allowed to work and travel, Etty decided to go to Westerbork.
Westerbork was a Dutch transit camp in the Netherlands. Once a week, around people in Westerbork were loaded on a train and transported to Auschwitz, in Poland. Upon arrival, many of them were led straight to the gas chambers. The lack of privacy, the mud that was everywhere. The constant haggling for food and medicine. The purple lupines.
The blue skies. The sounds of children sobbing every night. The anticipation of the weekly transport to Auschwitz. Who would be chosen to go?
Many guessed, it would mean death. People who survived the war describe Etty as radiant at Westerbork. She would move from barrack to barrack, providing a listening ear and a kind word for everyone.
But one thing is becoming increasingly clear to me: that You cannot help us, that we must help You to help ourselves. And that is all we can manage these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves. And perhaps in others as well. Neither do I hold You responsible. You cannot help us, but we must help You and defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last. How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
In a minute I'll give him such a smack in the face that he'll fly up to the ceiling together with his lies. AnneFrank GdnChildrensBks. Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up until now? It is God who has made us as we are, but it will be God, too, who will raise us up again.