A previous story, "Tefillin to Die For," was first published in Israel in the weekly Sichas Hashvuah. A 95-year-old man, Mr. Lasky, a subscriber to the publication, could not believe his eyes when he read the story of Abraham Wallis, of how he was almost hanged by the Nazis, then almost beaten to death, yet survived and made aliyah to Israel, subsequently establishing a family in Israel.
Mr. Lasky called the Sichas Hashvuah office and asked for the phone number of Abraham Wallis's son, Rabbi Yosef Wallis, Director of Arachim. When asked why he wanted the number, Lasky stated, "I was in Dachau, together with this Abraham Wallis. However, I never knew that Abraham survived the beating. I always wanted to thank Abraham for letting me put on his tefillin in Dachau. Now, at least, I can thank his son."
After receiving the phone call, Rabbi Wallis came down to visit Mr. Lasky. Lasky then thanked him for the tefillin his father had lent him. "However," he said, "I always had one complaint against your father…that is, he always hurried me to finish and take off the tefillin…and for good reason. He had to hide the tefillin from the sight of the Nazis. Other people at camp would also wear his tefillin."
"I am certain," continued Mr. Lasky, "that the tefillin that I wore in Dachau protected me in the camp and gave me long life and health."
Rabbi Wallis commented, "Until now, I never found anyone to validate my father's story. Now I have an eye witness. The circle of history has now come full circle."
From the forthcoming book by Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin.
Last updated: Saturday, Aug 25 2012 10:46pm