When 74-year-old Cecilia Rexin is asked what she learned during her eight years in concentration camps before and during WWII, her gray-green eyes sparkle and her wrinkled face spreads into a smile. "I find that when everything is taken away from you," she says, pointing a bony finger toward the sky, "God is enough."
Rexin ought to know. In the camps she was beaten, starved and humiliated. A tattered dress was her only possession. Her 'name' was No. 2657. But she says that even during her darkest, loneliest hours, God was with her. Her final days at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp were hellish. She was tossed into a 3x5 foot cell which was pitch black and frigid. She had to sleep on the bare concrete floor. She lived there eight weeks in her short-sleeved cotton dress, surviving on water and scraps of food. Then for five days she was given no food, only water. She could barely stand up. She dropped to her knees and prayed, "It's OK, God, if You want me to die and be with You. But I've been here seven-and-a-half years and I don't want to die now. Please let me live."
Female prisoners at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp
An hour later, her cell door opened and a man from the Swedish Red Cross walked in. Minutes later he returned with a huge meal -- potatoes, a plate of meat and boiled cabbage and liverwurst. She ate every morsel. Then the heat to her cell was turned on.
"It was a miracle," says Rexin. "In my darkness, my heavenly Father hear my prayer and reach down to me."
Today she lives in a small apartment near Bloomington to be with her daughter. Though it's been nearly half-a-century since Rexin spent those dehumanizing years in the camps, she still carries scars on her back and atrocities in her mind. But she also remembers the One who was with her.
"God will never let you down," she says. "He never parts the seas until you arrive at the the shore."
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