Just a little while ago I was sitting at my desk and happened to be chatting a little bit with an older man I had not met previously.  He seemed very nice and I was enjoying the conversation.  It was basically just small talk.  He asked me about where I had been employed previously and among other things I told him I had worked in Salt Lake City.  He then asked me if I was Mormon and I said yes.  He said he knew we had a beautiful chapel with a congregation for single people nearby (he was referring to our chapel in Inwood) – I asked him how he knew and he said he’s interested in religion.  Then he simply told me (I’m paraphrasing here):

“I am a Holocaust survivor.  I was saved by a Christian neighbor.  When the Nazis came to kill me, he told them that they were too late – that he had tortured and killed and buried me already a week earlier – that I was buried six feet under and rotting.  The Nazis believed him and moved on.”

At that point I asked him how he got out of there and his response: “that’s a long story.”

All I can say is that reading about the Holocaust or seeing a movie about the Holocaust is completely different from speaking with someone who was there.

He also told me (again, I’m paraphrasing a little bit) :

“As Jews we believe that regardless of what religion you are or what your beliefs are, there are three things you need to be a good person: 1) you need to be honest; 2) you need to be kind and 3) you need to be humble about it.”

At that point I couldn’t help but remember and mention Micah’s words “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before your God” and of course he knew the reference.

We talked for a little bit longer and then he left.  It wasn’t the most extended conversation I’ve ever had, by any means.  But certainly one of the most memorable.