Peace At Last

We don’t know much about him. We don’t even know his name.

The wife of his dentist called me while I was standing in line with a youth group at Knotts Berry Farm. “I have the skull of a Holocaust survivor and would like to give it a proper burial.”

I wasn’t sure whether to call the mortuary, a more qualified rabbi, the media or police! After more investigation, here is the story:

Dr. Frei was a gentile dentist in New Jersey. One day, in the early 1950’s, an old man in poor health showed up at his office for dental work. Dr. Frei noticed the numbers on his arm and his heavy European accent.

He was a Jewish holocaust survivor.

This poor fellow didn’t have money to pay for the services rendered, but Dr. Frei told him not to worry about it. The poor man gratefully said, “Someday, I am going to pay you back.”

Not too much time had passed, and a box showed up at Dr. Frei’s practice. This poor fellow had gone against Jewish tradition, and donated his body to science. Since Dr. Frei was a dentist, this man thought the Dr. could use his skull for teaching dentistry.

Dr. Frei was never comfortable with having this man's skull, but didn’t know what to do with it. Thirty five years later, his wife was helping him clean up the office for retirement and asked him what the box was. That’s when she heard the story.

Another 35 years later and Dr. Frei has passed. Mrs. Frei is getting old herself, and she felt compassion for this poor fellow, and wanted to give his skull a proper burial, so she asked a family friend and they told her to call Chabad.

We still don’t know his name, and we don’t know his full story, but now, this unnamed Holocaust survivor was finally buried, after seventy years! We don’t know why he suffered so much during his lifetime, and even after life, but finally, his soul can rest in peace.

Good Shabbos,

Yonasan Abrams


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