The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust

Zvi, a blond Polish Jewish boy who was born ten years before the outbreak of World War II, began life as Henryk Weichert. Following the deportation of his three older brothers to Germany for slave labour and ultimately death, Henryk was placed in an orphanage by his parents where his Aryan looks provided him with a chance of survival. By the age of eleven he was entirely alone in the world, knowing full well that his Jewish identity needed to be hidden; a fact which led to him surviving the years of the Holocaust as a rootless scavenger.


After the war Henryk, along with other Jewish refugees, attempted to emigrate to Palestine, which was then under the British Mandate, before ending up in a detention camp in Cyprus. Eventually, following UN approval to establish the State of Israel in 1948, Henryk arrived in his future homeland and adopted the Hebrew version of his name: Zvi. After cursory military training, he immediately found himself in the thick of fierce fighting against infiltrators from the surrounding Arab League countries who were determined that the nation of Israel should be stillborn. There were heavy casualties among the rag-tag army of Jewish volunteers, who didn’t even share a common language. However, Zvi survived and became an expert in defusing mines and booby-traps, a skill he was called upon to exercise periodically over the next forty years.


The book recounts how Zvi came to trust in Jesus as his Saviour before settling in Jerusalem, falling in love with and marrying his Persian Jewish wife, Esther, who also came to know the Lord. In between tours of duty in the Israeli Defence Force, Zvi worked in the building trade whilst he and Esther raised their family together. As Messianic Jews they were not popular with their neighbours, particularly the ultra-Orthodox. Their four children also suffered abuse for their faith but learnt how to stand firm and continue to graciously maintain a good witness.


The latter part of the book concerns Zvi’s involvement in the Six Day War and subsequent conflicts. It gives insight into the lives of his children, often amusingly, as they grew up, entered obligatory military service, got married and had children of their own. Finally, there is a dramatic and unexpected twist before the end of the story.


Apart from being a riveting read, the book shows what life in Europe was like during the Second World War, and gives valuable insight into the after effects of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. It also casts light, from Zvi’s perspective, on the various conflicts concerning Israel and the Arab nations that have arisen since then. Furthermore, it helps us gain understanding of Jewish objections to Jesus, and how, by God’s grace, they can be overcome, as evidenced by the many people who have come to know the Messiah for themselves through the faithful testimony of Zvi.


Rosa Blandford


Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust, Elwood McQuaid, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry Inc.,

This article was first published in the Autumn Herald 2012

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