By Jim Fletcher
Anita Dittman learned about fear and courage early, during a momentous period in history.
“I was 5-and-a-half when Hitler came,” she says. “My mother said, ‘We’ll have to register.’ I asked her, ‘What about me?’ She told me that I’d have to register as a Jew. ‘Thank God,’ I told her. I wanted to be identified that way, even as a child.”
It was 1933.
Within 18 months, Dittman would become something of an oddity in her Jewish community: a believer in Jesus Christ.
Dittman’s father, a German Jew, abandoned his family in the interest of self-survival. So Dittman and her mother not only were forced to scramble for basic sustenance; they had to survive the malevolent forces sweeping through their country.
It was the young Anita’s new-found faith that sustained her, which she outlines in her book, “Trapped in Hitler’s Hell: A Young Jewish Girl Discovers the Messiah’s Faithfulness in the Midst of the Holocaust.” It is a story she told her friend, Jan Markell, almost four decades ago. Markell, founder of Olive Tree Ministries, put pen to paper as the two women bonded through shared experience. Markell’s family had fled Europe, as well.
“In 1977, I was just starting out in ministry,” recalls Markell. “I was very green. Anita was having surgery and her pastor, while visiting her, asked about her story. When it became clear Anita wanted to share her story with the world, the pastor told her he knew someone who could help. We spent several months writing, and it was an emotional time. I realized that if my Russian relatives had not arrived at Ellis Island … well, I’d always had a burden for the topic.” Click here to continue reading.