Becoming Human Again
The other day I stumbled across a video of Martin Greenfield, “Tailor to the Presidents,” and fell in love…
You see, I have a thing for craftsmen and women—people who make handcrafted stuff: rustic Italian bread, wine, skateboards, pottery, whiskey, furniture, cabins, letterpress printing, whatever.
And I also think old men are the coolest.
The video was fun—and it made me curious about more of his story. I looked him up on Wikipedia… and there is this one little section of his story that made me pause, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
According to Wikipedia:
Greenfield was born on August 9, 1928 to a Jewish family in Pavlovo, a small village… located in the southeastern tip of Slovakia. At age 14, Greenfield was rounded up along with his father, mother, two sisters, brother and grandparents. All were brought to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Near the end of World War II, Greenfield was moved along with other Auschwitz prisoners to the Buchenwald concentration camp. In April 1945, the American army stormed the camp, and liberated its prisoners.
Later, General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived to supervise the liberation, and Greenfield shook his hand; coincidentally, standing next to Greenfield at the time was Elie Wiesel, who would later become famous writing about his time in the concentration camps.
Soon after the liberation, Greenfield and another teenage survivor set out to kill the wife of the mayor, who previously had Greenfield beaten for trying to eat food intended for her pet rabbits.
When they found her, she was carrying her newborn baby—and Greenfield relented; he has described that moment as when he “became human again.”
Becoming human again.
Greenfield, filled with justifiable anger, seeks revenge. But when he sees the one who showed him no mercy—his enemy—carrying her child, anger and revenge just couldn’t remain—because, in that moment, he became human again.
Keith Giles, in his new book, Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb, says:
For centuries, mankind has continued in the delusion that we can make the world a better place if we could just kill enough “bad” people, or if we could just elect enough “good” leaders to rule over us. The record clearly shows us that these have never proven true. We cannot kill our way to peace, nor can we vote our way to paradise.
Jesus came to restore sanity to mankind. He showed us another way to live and a better way to be human beings.
“I don’t copy, people copy me.” Ha!
Wow. What a story.
This story … thanks for telling it.
Compelling, sobering and inspiring. And I appreciate your reference to “crucifying our politics and pledging allegiance to the Lamb”. Nothing in this past election/new administration is a surprise to God; may He have mercy on us.