1925 was a year like many others, where untold multitudes of babies were born worldwide. Yet, in Poland, that very same year, the firstborn to Simcha and Fruna Perlmutter, a baby girl was born. Her name was, Tchiya Perlmutter.
Why is Tchiya so important? Well, she was a Jew, born with the Holocaust seemingly hot on the heels of her birth… a time when the enemy was awakening to the threat of Abraham’s seed.
“I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.’”
The Jewish people primarily are, and were, a people who follow God and His ways—who are in covenant with Him. Not a perfect people, as none are, but those to whom both great blessings and cursing have come upon.
It is written in Romans 2:9-10 (NIV), “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Good comes to the Jew first, then to the Gentile; as do times of trouble and tribulation. In both cases it is up to us to pay heed to what is happening to God’s seed.
So, why mention one particular Jewish girl born in Poland in 1925? Why should we care what happened so long ago?
First, Tchiya was born a daughter of Abraham, a seed set in place so that it would take root and grow into God’s promise. Because His promise is to the Jew first, awareness is key. Secondly, we must look at what took place in Tchiya’s life not many years later, what needs to be remembered and fulfilled; and what we need to do now to remind ourselves of God’s promises—to have our eyes opened.
Tchiya Perlmutter was born to intellectual parents—her father, Simcha, was a professor, and both he and her mother, Fruna, acted as civic leaders. She and her younger sister, Shulamit, lived with their parents in Horochow, Poland.
In 1939, Germany invaded Horochow, and their Soviet Union allies occupied the area. Tchiya was just 14 years old at the time. Her family remained in their home despite the occupation and increased anti-Semitism. It wasn’t until 1941, three years after Nazi occupation, when Germany came and built a ghetto in Horochow, ultimately relocating the Perlmutter family within.
Tchiya was 17 years old when her mother began hearing rumors that the ghetto was about to be destroyed. Being worried for the safety of her children, Fruna tried to help them escape. Tchiya was to hide with a nearby Polish family after escaping near the end of her usual work detail… but things didn’t go as planned. She was betrayed to the Germans. Tchiya, unlike so many others, wasn’t taken to a camp to either be gassed or die a slow death, nor was she taken to the woods to be shot. Instead, she was stripped of her clothes, and then led through the streets of the city she’d known as home, before finally being tortured and killed.
When you read a story like Tchiya’s you may ask yourself: How could God have allowed this to happen? Why is such a horrible story important to remember? I’d rather not know. Yet, there are so many reasons why we need to know; we have to remember.
God didn’t cause the Holocaust, man did.
Through the horrors, tears, and anguish of the Holocaust, God brought beauty from the ashes… but He didn’t cause the ashes. He was not bringing punishment to His people. God didn’t just stand by; He was there, weeping with His people for the transgressions against them.
Through the events of the Holocaust God gave His grafted-in Gentiles the ability to act—a chance to remember His people, as well as their importance to Him—to remind us that if we are grafted into a Jewish tree, then we must nurture that tree which we are now a part of, or both will perish.
It is to the Jew first. We, as Gentiles, are just as important in God’s eyes, but the blessings of God flow through the trunk of the Jew and out to the branches of the Gentiles. If sorrow touches the roots of the tree, will not the branches soon after feel it? If joy and life touch the roots of the tree, will not the branches feel it in time?
It is time that we, the grafted in, act. The Holocaust is over, Israel is not only alive, but thriving—celebrating her 70th year. Yet, we can still act! We can still do what we were meant to do… take care of and live, in love, with our Jewish brothers and sisters.
At My Olive Tree we take many steps to renew Israel and invite the fulfillment of biblical prophecy… yet, one thing near and dear to our hearts is to bring God’s refuge to those still affected by the Holocaust.
“Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
you shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
nor of the arrow that flies by day,
nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”
Each year, Jews such as Tchiya, would have heard and said the prayer, ‘Next year in Jerusalem!’ By planting an olive tree in remembrance of a Holocaust victim through our Holocaust Victim Legacy Package, you are planting them in the Holy City they longed to see. You are also renewing the land of Israel for generations to come; employing Israelis; revealing biblical prophecy; and blessing a Holocaust Survivor with a warm winter blanket—letting those still living know that YOU have not forgotten them, that they are loved, and that Gentiles who are grafted-in understand the importance of their lives.
Thankfully, Tchiya Perlmutter’s tree has already been planted in Israel, but there are thousands of other Holocaust victims just like her, waiting to be remembered.
Let us never forget what happened, but let us also never forget that it is first to the Jew—so when Israel is blessed, when the Jews are blessed, then we in turn… shall be blessed!