The Holocaust Maiden – An OFW Story

This article, a true story, is a tribute to the millions of OFWs worldwide caught in the pandemic storm. Lisa (not her real name) was a bright young Filipina working in a law firm in California. She opened up the heart of the Holocaust Maiden, who was in total withdrawal, unable to speak for years, traumatized by her holocaust experience.

eastwind journals, Updated July 29, 2022 (archives tr27)

By Bernie V. Lopez,

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During World War II, a Jewish girl, Ruth (not her real name), at a tender age, was rounded up into the Warsaw Ghetto with her parents to be fed to a gas chamber. The SS selected a group to be ransomed by the world Jewry to raise $2 million to finance the invasion of Russia. Unfortunately, they were not selected.

A Christian family smuggled Ruth out of the Ghetto by simply putting her in a coffin, which was thrown into a cart full of corpses headed for the cemetery. There, she was smuggled out in the dead of night. Her parents were killed in the gas chamber.

Ruth was an attractive blonde who eventually became a Broadway actress in New York. But the memory of Warsaw lingered and haunted her, until one day, she withdrew totally from the world, not speaking, staring at the wall. Silent tears would suddenly flow. For years, no one could draw her out of her darkness.

She was brought to the Bet Tzedek (Hall of Justice in Hebrew) Legal Services in Fairfax, Los Angeles, USA, which offered free legal services for low-income residents. Bet Tzedek was a prestigious international Robin Hood of a law firm known as far as Tel Aviv and Washington DC. The firm wanted the German government to pay Ruth war reparations as a holocaust survivor. For days, the lawyers tried hard to pry her open, but she was like an ice-berg, cold, unmoved, opaque, unreachable. When the lawyers gave up, they passed her on to Lisa, the rare female in a predominantly male law firm, hoping she could thaw the ice-berg.

Lisa knew instinctively how to break-in Ruth. She sat beside her and held her hand without saying a word. She caressed her hair and touched her face. Ruth stared at her, and for the first time, gave a faint smile. Lisa knew the magic of touch. Touch was better than a thousand words. But you take a risk. Some people do not want to be touched, but not Ruth in the hands of Lisa. After Lisa left, Ruth spoke her very first four words in three-odd years, “What is her name?”

Lisa came back prepared. She had a dreidel (a Jewish toy), and like little children, Lisa, in her late twenties, and Ruth, in her late thirties, played together. Lisa said she lived in Germany before. Ruth said, “Spreken sie Deutch?” (Do you speak German?) Lisa answered, “Nein” (no). Gradually, the ice-berg melted under the intense heat of a dialogue of ‘children’. Ruth said she was originally from Poland. Slowly, from a trickle of words, there was a flood of unspoken darkness deep inside her soul flowing out. Sharing one’s unspoken pains is a form of healing.

Ruth recalled her harrowing experience. The lawyers got the information they needed to file a case against the German government. Finally, she won her case. She was awarded about US$3,000 a month for the rest of her life, a small fortune which insured her future. As of 2019, she lived in the Los Angeles area.

The Jewish community lauded the lawyers of Bet Tzedek. The story of how Lisa, the OFW who melted an iceberg, which no one else could do, was front page news in a local Jewish paper. Asked how she did it, Lisa said, “It’s simple. It’s no secret. The art of listening and touching can melt icebergs, fill dark rooms with sunshine. A smile can change despair into hope instantly. A touch can open rusty doors closed for so long.”

Here are some pointers from Lisa. Eye contact is critical. The eyes are the windows of the soul.  When you listen, listen hard from your heart. Do not distract the speaker with your urge to speak. Just keep quiet. Have a sixth sense when to butt in. Show empathy and genuine interest. If you are not sincere, they will know. Finally, touch is sometimes the greatest ice-breaker, but not always. Resort to the touchless smile that touches, before you attempt to touch. For Ruth, it worked like magic.

The story of Lisa, one of 2.3 million OFWs, based on a 2017 survey, is one among the hundreds I stumbled on during my travels, when I mixed freely with OFWs in Europe and America. Lisa is telling us that the key to coping with the pandemic is the love we give to others.

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FOR THOSE WHO NEED HEALING, spiritual or physical (depression, anxiety, loneliness, terminal cancer, covid, diabetes, etc.) – say an online healing prayer with one or both healers below. Terminal patients have been healed in cyberspace –

1) Father Fernando

2) Sr. Raquel Reodica, RVM –

Download free e-book ‘Healing Stories of Sr. Raquel’ at

AUTHOR’S BOOK  – Wings and Wanderlust – Discovering Your Inner Self. At age 26, the author hitchhiked 25,000 kilometers in Europe and North Africa for three straight years. In this book of his wild adventures, he learned deep insights that changed him totally, which he wants to share with readers. It also a guidebook on how to plan your own adventure.

Order a paperback or an e-book. For paperbacks, if you are a Philippine resident, save on shipping cost by ordering by email at For e-books, if you have an IPAD, download the app ‘kindle’. For non-IPADS, buy a kindle device (check guidelines.) –

amazon book cover – wings and wanderlust

Author’s Credentials. Blogger – ex-Columnist (Inquirer) – Healing Ministry – ex-Professor (Ateneo University) – Documentary Producer-Director (freelance, ex-ABS-CBN, ex-TVS Tokyo) – ex-Broadcaster (Radio Veritas) – Facebook “Bernie V. Lopez Eastwind” / Pages “Eastwind Journeys and Journals” and “Mary Queen of Peace”.


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