The black and white images added to the poignancy of the moment. Thousands of eyeglasses piled high, taken from the prisoners who were about to be gassed in the concentration camp. Sunken eyes on gaunt faces stared at their captors from behind barbed wire fences. It was the Holocaust.
It was my son’s history project. I am usually happy to assist my son with his homework but this project was different. I have no fascination with the lurid horrors of over six million Jews who were tortured and executed. Many of the photos were familiar but it still greatly upset me as I perused the hundreds of images to make a collection for his poster board. Every reminder of the Holocaust is a reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.
It has been nearly eighty years since the prisoners in the Holocaust concentration camps were freed. Only a few are still alive. In spite of the overwhelming evidence of the atrocities that were committed during WWII, many younger generations are unaware of what happened. A survey taken in 2020 of adults (18-39 years of age) living in the United States found that 10% were unaware of the Holocaust. A more disturbing find was 11% believed that Jews caused the Holocaust. Forty eight percent could not name a single Holocaust camp. As a harbinger of the future, 59% believed something like the Holocaust could happen again. Ignorance is not bliss. Christian and Jews alike have pondered how God could allow such an evil event to occur and why others allowed it to happen?
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, Nobel laureate, and political activist issued this warning, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented….The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
It is easy to look the other way and be indifferent when injustice afflicts a racial group, nation, or culture that is not our own. Recent events in our country and the world have tragically demonstrated that everyone can become a victim, regardless of the color of their skin, religion, or political views. As painful and uncomfortable that it makes us feel, we must remember the horrors of the past and seek to prevent events like the Holocaust from every happening again. We have hope. Although millions who have been persecuted or martyred throughout the history of the word, God has never abandoned the oppressed and persecuted. By our own efforts, we are helpless to rid man’s inhumanity to man. All of our hearts are desperately wicked. God is not indifferent to our forlorn condition. He intervened in His Creation and sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us of our sins and to transform us with the same nature of Jesus.
We cannot be indifferent to evil. God changes our hearts to understand that an attack on any person is an attack on all.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.