Samuel and Thea, married since 1947 migrated from Holland to Australia in 1952. Born in 1926 and named after his grandfather Samuel de Wolf, Samuel began using the name STEF in 1942, when the German’s occupied Holland. His high-school teacher advised him not to use the name ‘Samuel’, but change it for a less obvious Jewish one, as it became clear the Dutch Jews were in for a hard time of persecution and cruelty.
After escaping the dreaded holocaust, ‘Samuel’ (the name means ‘borrowed from God’) kept his ‘hiding name STEF’, when he realised and experienced the hatred people still had and have for Jews, regardless of the country in which they live.
For nearly 50 years of marriage, his wife Thea never called her husband by any other name but ‘Stef’.
His family, friends and people he met and owrked with, did not know him to be anything else but a Dutch Christian migrant named ‘Stef’.
‘Stef’ and Thea went to Israel for the first time in 1994. Whilst in Jerulsalem, ‘Stef’ met one of the 73 Rabbis, who call themselves ‘Believers’, because they have accepted Yeshua to be THE Messiah. The Rabbi told ‘Stef’ he had come to the conclusion, that “we are all of the seed of Abraham”.
‘Stef’ went alone to Yad Vashem, the Holocause Museum in Jerusalem, to find out when and where 17 of his nearest relatives, including his grandfather Samuel had been killed.
On the way back to the hostel, where he and Thea were staying, just outside the gates of Yad Vashem, Stef clearly heard these words: “Stef… you are not only the seed of Abraham, but your roots are also in Israel. It is no longer necessary for you to hide behind the name of ‘Stef’… YOUR NAME IS SAMUEL.”
It was as if a rucksack had been taken off this shoulders, a load which he had been carrying for more than 50 years. It was like a born-again experience for ‘Stef’, because he clearly understood that the Lord had spoken to him.
He went back to the hostel on the bus, wanting to tell everyone that he was ‘one of them’, but nobody understood him of course. However, Thea certainly did. When he entered the hostel, he said to her: “Well, you’d better call me SAMUEL from now on”, to which she replied; “I know, I’ll show you”.
Three hours earlier, Thea has written in her diary: “Stef has gone back to Yad Vashem. Maybe for his new life, he’s got to be SAMUEL again. Restored, not needing to hide any longer.”
“…even unto them will give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name… that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 1:5.
The Lord made known to Stef: “You came to seach for names of others and received your own”.
“I have called you by your name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:2.
Since Samuel and Thea’s return to Australia, Samuel became the co-ordinator and editor of FOCUS on ISRAEL, which main aim is ‘TO TEACH EACH OTHER HEBREW BIBLICAL ROOTS OF OUR FAITH’. For further information please write to Focus on Israel, PO Box 484, Marden 5070, South Australia, or phone 61 8 83366781.