We were lined up when the general appeared. He called out, “Yosef Markovitz aus Budapest.” What?! From all the hundreds of prisoners lined up he has to call me? And he even knew my name! In the camp we did not have names, only numbers.
I stood rooted to the spot, paralyzed by fear. My friends whispered, “Yossele, you’re endangering all of us by standing here.”
My knees shaking uncontrollably, and not daring to breathe, I began walking towards the general.
“Are you Yosef Markovitz of Budapest?”
I saluted and responded, “Jawohl.”
The general withdrew my siddur from inside his jacket and handed it to me, saying, “Here is your prayer book.”
I took back my siddur and promptly fainted.
His old world was gone. If he survived, what would the young yeshivah bachur find in the new world?
Drawing New Worlds is the remarkable story of Rabbi Yosef Meir Markovitz, the respected patriarch of a large family in Williamsburg. The story begins on the eve of the Holocaust in old-world Hungary, with its esteemed yeshivos and tangible yiras Shamayim. We are given a vivid portrayal of real life in the last moments of the alter heim as we join Yosef Meir in his journey from one yeshivah to another and his face-to-face encounters with the Torah luminaries of the previous generation.
His world is about to change forever, but his impeccable upbringing, sheer determination, and stalwart emunah will enable him to draw new worlds around himself — both in pre- and post-war Europe, as he fights for his physical and spiritual survival.
Poignant and often humorous, Drawing New Worlds will open readers’ hearts to the courageous story of one man’s struggle and triumph.