Summer, 1945. Rav Shlomo Wolbe, representative of the Vaad HaHatzalah in Sweden, had spent the day traveling to the refugee cam in Doversdorp, where, he had been told, he would find survivors of the concentration camps. When he arrived in the heat of midday, he was readily granted permission to visit the camp and its residents. As he approached the dining room, he raised his hand to touch the doorpost, searching for a mezuza. He did not find one, which told him a great deal about the nature of the camp. He stepped into the room. He wore a dark suit and hat, and had not only a beard, but peyos as well; typical rabbinic garb, but an unusual sight in a room whose doorpost lacked so basic a religious article as a mezuza. The girls were busily engaged in eating, and hiding food, when one of them noticed the newcomer. "Look!" she cried "A Jew! Tatte!" Heads shot up and eyes opened wide. It really was a Jew, just like before the war. Where could this Jew have come from? Hadn't the Germans killed them all? The Rav's eyes glistened with tears. What terrible sufferings these Jewish daughters must have endured! "Dear girls," he said. "I thank G-d for the privilege of seeing so many Jewish daughters who were saved from the inferno." Their tears, so close to the surface now, began to flow. At that very moment, Rav Wolbe decided: These girls are going to have a religious school with dormitory facilities, run in accordance with Jewish law and tradition. And indeed they did. On the Swedish island of Lidingo, the "Lidingo Family" was born. Over one hundred girls had the privilege of being educated and rehabilitated in this oasis, in the midst of terrible desolation faced by survivors. And wonder of wonders, today, the Lidingo girls are grandmothers, thank G-d, and they still are bound together like actual sisters. This fact alone attests to the unique nature of the school in Lidingo and the devotion of its teachers and staff.
by Chana Mantel