“Children, I forbid you to enter the ghetto! Those trapped in the ghetto will be transported to the Place of No Return…You must pack your most vital belongings immediately…and flee for your lives!”
With his father’s final plea ringing in his ears, young Pinchos Yeshaya Kornbluh said goodbye to his days as a serious and diligent bachur in yeshivah, and began his escape flight, always attempting to keep one step ahead of the Nazis.
And so began one long chain of miracles for Pinchos Yeshaya. Split-second decisions, whose outcomes often spelled life or death, were his constant companions. From his time in the Hungarian army, where the commander of his battalion, noting the youngster’s daring spirit and leadership qualities, soon put him in charge—even submitting to the boy’s decisions himself—through the misery of the Gunskirchen concentration camp, from where he was eventually liberated, Pinchos Yeshaya persevered. He learned to look danger right in the eye, to keep his cool and outsmart even the wiliest of German guards, armed only with his pure faith, his zeal to keep as many mitzvos as possible, and his determination to stay alive.
Just as Tatteh had mandated.