Aryeh Leib "Eugene" Lebovitz was born in Czechoslovakia eighty-eight years ago. He was herded off to Auschwitz early in 1944 in one of the infamous cattle cars. After they tattooed a number on his arm and put him in a barracks the guard tried to hand him a piece of a crust of white bread but he rejected it.
He looked at it and said, "This is food?"
The guard said, "You just signed your death warrant."
He was able to step outside into an enclosed area. He stood by a building, looked up to Heaven and said, "Hashem, You are the G-d of all and You can do whatever You want. You gave us manna in the wilderness and if you want me to eat you will give me food."
He said, "Just then a large piece of bread and some chocolate came flying out of one of the windows. It was the building where the prostitutes were kept."
He ate the food and never for a moment, no matter what he saw, lost faith that Hashem is the G-d of all and can save anyone He wants.
After the war Aryeh Leib came to Israel and served in the armed forces. He went on to become a full colonel and retired with the rank of General. He was a hero in the War of Independence, and worked for the secret intelligence service in several countries. Now he lives in Florida and is constantly active in Holocaust education.
He comes to Israel a couple of times a year. He told me that the day he comes to the Kotel he purposely does not put on tefillin. He waits to have me help him. When I put the strap on his arm I gently touched his tattoo. Then, when I put the tefillin strap over the number I thought, "We beat the bastards."
Thank G-d for our survivors… but then, when you stop and think about it… all Jews are survivors.
Aryeh Leib's life story