The Precious Medicine
By Zalman Rudman
Published in ChaBaD’s “Sichat Ha-Shavua” (#1043,
from Hebrew by Sh. Gurevich
The childhood and youth of R. Daniel
Horowitz were spent in an agricultural atmosphere – between fields, orchards
and animals. He was born in 1913 in the Hungarian town of Bartzika. Daniel was the sixth
generation of R. Shmuel Shmelke
Ha-Levi Horowitz of Nikolsburg.
When Daniel was a child, his family
moved to the village Brente, there they lived in peace
and prosperity. His father R. Nathan Zvi rented lands
for agriculture and employed many workers. Additionally, he had a big herd of
cows and supplied milk to the Jews of Mishkoltz. Within
the family, the work on earth was always accompanied with a dream of coming to Eretz
cultivating its soil. Daniel studied in a yeshiva in Pressburg,
and later joined his father to help him in his agricultural activities. After
his marriage, Daniel was occupied in cattle trading.
The family’s peaceful
life was abruptly cut by the outbreak of the World War Two. Daniel was conscripted
into one of the Hungarian working squads which acted in full cooperation with
the Germans. He was sent firstly to Ukraine
to cut trees in the forests for three years, and after that to the German town
for construction of underground bunkers. These were the years of hard work for
many hours, in terrible conditions of hunger, cold and disease. It was not surprising that the death rate in
the working squads was very high.
One day death looked
in the face of Daniel. These days he weighed only 35 kg. It was after he was
sent from Ninenberg to Dachau
concentration camp. On his way to Dachau
he was infected with Typhus. The disease utterly weakened Daniel and he could
not continue to work. He just thought he was doomed to death – but suddenly
the redemption came from where it by no means was expected to appear. He was sent for a check at the camp’s German
doctor. The doctor measured his temperature – it was 40 degrees Centigrade.
“What is your name?” - asked the doctor in German. “Dezso
(Daniel) Horowitz”- replied Daniel. The doctor looked at him with examining
glance. He neared his lips to Daniel’s ear and whispered: “If so – you are a
Levi!”. The heat and weakness did not blur Daniel’s
consciousness. “Yes”, he said, stunned, “Yes, I am Levi”. “This means that you
belong to my family!”- added the doctor. He went to the corner of the room,
opened the door of the cabinet of medicines and took out a hypodermic needle
and a small bottle of penicillin, and injected it into Daniel’s body. It was
written on the bottle in big letters: “Only for SS officers and German soldiers!”
The penicillin injection
saved Daniel’s life. In a couple of days he recovered and went to look for the
doctor to thank him but, unfortunately, he did not succeed in finding him. The
doctor disappeared and all trace of him was lost.
The Germans were defeated,
and victorious Americans entered Dachau
to liberate its prisoners. After the war Daniel returned to Hungary.
There he was struck by terrible news about his family. His wife and the little
daughter had been sent to Auschwitz and never came back.
He was also told that his brother had been shot by a German sniper, and his
two sisters perished in Auschwitz as well.
Daniel started to restore
his life from ruins and reconstruct it anew. He married Miriam Zeizler
and together with the rest of his brothers planned to move to Eretz Israel.
One night they sailed together on the board of a rickety boat “Knesset Israel”
specially chartered to bring illegal immigrants to Eretz
Israel. But, when they neared the cost, they were detected
by the British and sent to the Cyprus
Only in 1947 the family
succeeded in arriving safely to the coast of Eretz
established his home in Pardes Channa.
There he continued the family’s tradition and realized his old dream of agricultural
work in the Holy Land. R. Daniel passed away peacefully
on 7th Tevet 5766 (7.1.2006). His daughter Dina Levin from Bnei Brak sent this story to “Sichat Ha-Shavua”.