We are reading the first stories in the Book of Genesis, ספר בראשית. After creating the world and creating humankind with the gift of free will, God saw that free will wasn’t a trait that always would be used for good purposes. Rather than using their choices for beauty and good, some of humanity showed themselves to be envious, greedy, violent, and, well murderous. God found a man, Abraham, who had integrity and searched for truth. Together Abraham and his wife Sarah were chosen to begin a new nation, God’s chosen people the Jews.
In the Torah readings of “Lech Lecha” and VaYeira” we read some of the challenges that God put before Abraham. One of those tests was “Akeidat Yitzchak” the binding and threatened sacrifice of Abraham and Sarah’s precious son Isaac. There were personal repercussions, but Abraham retained his faith in God and his descendants are the Jewish people of today.
Bill Glied wrote the following poem which he read when he led groups to the concentration camp of Majdanek:
Bill Glied z”l was a wonderful man of faith. He was born in 1930 in the town of Subotica, Serbia. In April of 1944 Hungarian gendarmes rounded up more than 400,000 Jews. Bill Glied and his family were among those Jews and were transported in cattle cars to Aushcwitz. His mother and 8 year old sister were killed immediately. He and his father were sent to a camp in Bavaria where they worked for 12 hours a day to build an underground airplane factory. Bill survived the camps and the war but tragically his father died of typhoid fever eight days before U.S. troops liberated the camp in 1945.
Bill was not a bitter man and devoted a great deal of time to teaching youth about the Holocaust, and making sure that the tragedy will not be forgotten.
He wrote a beautiful poem, “I AM A JEW” as a wake-up call and an inspiration to others.”I AM A JEW” is a lesson, a guideline, for what we, as Jews, are. It describes the best that we can strive for. It outlines the traits we should cultivate and can achieve.
I was honoured to be asked to write out the poem, With the family’s permission I am reprinting it and showing the illustrated poem.
Bill Glied came to Canada in 1947, and married Marika Nyiri in 1959. They had three daughters, Sherry, Tammy, and Michelle, eight grandchildren, and a great grandchild. His family carries on Bill’s love of the world and let’s all ensure that his name will be remembered as a blessing.
Have a Shabbat Shalom, Laya