“YOU KILLED OUR GOD, JESUS CHRIST, AND NOW, WE KILL YOU.” Rose, a Jewish girl, read this banner in fear as she entered Turkheim, another concentration camp. Once, she smiled and was thrown into a tank of raw sewage that made her develop large sores. Guards stripped Rose and several other women naked and forced them to stand out in the snow. She watched as one by one the women dropped and froze to death. At an average, 18 hours was a days labor. 60 to 80 percent of the quarter inch piece of bread that they received daily consisted of sawdust. Overseers used cat-of-nine whips to hit the worker’s arms, torsos, and legs.
Every time a whip stung her legs, every time hunger attacked like a lion and she was forced to stand and watch several people being hanged before eating the one meal of the day, every time another relative disappeared around her to be exterminated, every time she moved from bad to worse situations, every time she was brutally tortured simply for being weak, she knew it was done in the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ was the one who killed her family. Only her sister survived from their immediate family.
Rose lost all faith in God in the concentration camp. After liberation, she moved to New York city where she denied God even while holding on to her Jewishness. That was who she was. God was empty. He never answered prayers, never saved the life of a family member. She became president of the synagogue across the street.
Then her daughter, Cookie, came home one day and changed her life.
“Mommy, I believe in Jesus Christ! He’s the Jewish Messiah!”
Rose threatened to kick her out of the house if she didn’t deny Jesus.
After an intensive theological struggle, Rose became a Christian. Hers is an amazing testimony pulled from the most extreme situations in history- from hating Christ to loving Christ, from starving to overflowing. Later Rose went to speak on forgiveness in the very place Hitler used to spew out his hatred.
I’ve played soccer with many Jews in Israel who where fixated on the idea that Christianity and Judaism where incompatible. They kept telling me Jesus was a Jew. Of course he’s a Jew. He’s the Jewish Messiah, and I believe he fulfilled the numerous prophesies in the Jewish scriptures. One such prophesy is in Isiah 53.
Rose mostly used a situation to speak for her emotion, not simply dragging on describing everything she felt in canned sentences like ‘I thought I could hear my own heartbeat’. I enjoyed reading it, and finished it within two days. ‘A Rose from Ashes’ told an ugly story at a good pace, good length, and appropriate style. It seemed a little off-beat at the very last two chapters- and it did not end with the customary apex of many novels. This opinion of style is peripheral to Rose’s actual story. ‘A Rose from the Ashes’ is one of the best books I’ve ever read.