Thursday, April 30

Hashgochoh Protis VIII - השגחה פרטית

During WWII, my father’s family lived in exile in Antwerp, Belgium. When the German army invaded the country, my grandfather R’ Getzel Beck Z”L (he lived and was Niftar in London in 1977) – who felt the wrath of these murderers on his own skin before fleeing Vienna – decided to pack up and leave immediately.  They packed their meagre belongings and set out on foot, joining the mass of people that clogged up the roads leading to the Belgian coast.  When they reached a waystation and my grandfather realised that they would never make it, having to schlepp small children under the constant threat of bombers flying overhead, he hailed buggy pulled by horse and paid the driver handsomely.  When they were all settled – they were about ten souls in all, including his parents and siblings – a Jewish man appeared and offered his gold watch to the driver.   The coachman ordered all of our family off and accepted the new ‘customer’ with his eleven family members – against the protestations of my grandfather.  A couple of hours later, when my grandfather succeeded in finding another wagon, they were well on their way when the driver told him to make sure that no one of the children look out of the window as there was an air raid not long before and the sights would not be welcoming… My grandfather did look and saw: a wagon and horse with the driver and all its passengers lifelessly strewn about the surrounding are HaShem Yikom Domom.  Indeed, he recognised the ‘customer’ and his family as well as the wagon driver who ordered him off, thereby saving his life as well as those of his whole family!

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