T

he story of how, as a child, Reb Dovid Werdyger a”h sang before the Imrei Emes of Gur is well known. But the miracle of how his musical gifts saved his life from the Nazis is a little-known drama.

Reb Dovid had been in the Plaszow concentration camp for five months, when he was included in a group of 270 Jews who were ordered to march out of the camp to a nearby forest, where they were commanded to dig their own graves. The fiendish Nazi commander walked among the rows of Jews, asking each one what his profession was. Whoever had a profession that could somehow assist the Nazi war machine, survived. The others were shot on the spot. When it was Reb Dovid’s turn, he said he was a singer. The Nazi smirked and asked how that could help the German army.

Reb Dovid replied, “Listen to me sing, and perhaps you will change your mind.”

The Nazi considered the proposal for a moment, and then said, “All right. Go ahead and sing the song the Jews sing when they bury their dead.”

Against the ghastly backdrop, the young chazzan began “Keil Malei Rachamim” as the Jews were shot and fell into the graves they had dug. Apparently even the Nazi beast was moved by his singing — he ordered Reb Dovid Werdyger to run away from that valley of death. (Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 718)