We happen to be studying Central/Eastern Europe in my Geography class. When we reached Poland I was confronted with a bit of history I have chosen to keep locked in the recesses of my shocked mind.
Three million Polish Jews out of three million Polish Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Sure, there were a handful of escapees. A remnant that remained in hidden seclusion. But total destruction of a whole people group plagues Poland’s relatively recent past. Half the Jews murdered in the Holocaust were from Poland.
Even seventy years later, what was once a large minority is reduced to few thousand.
Today is Israel’s annual Holocaust memorial day.
The gas chambers of the death camps were the preferred method of murder in Nazi Germany. But there was a variety of evil committed in the Holocaust.
Children not much older than my Josiah were burned, frozen, dehydrated, poisoned, maimed, sterilized, infected, and beaten for the sake of “science.” Twins, who were an obsession to Nazis, were sewn together, injected with chemicals, and infected with all manner of disease to see what genetic differentiations they had. German doctors also wanted to unlock the genetic code for multiples. Repopulating the New Germany with the pure Aryan race would be easier than ever.
When we are confronted with the successive weight of these heart-rending facts it’s like getting caught in a torrential pouring of acid rain. Our remaining vestiges of emotional stability fall into a fetal position as we cover our ears.
The blunt force of these figures and facts rarely smacks us at the soul level. “Victims” “War Dead” and “Mass Murder” are all relegated to emotional abstractions because they haven’t touched our family with the barrel of a rifle. As the quote goes, commonly attributed to a fellow maniacal tyrant, Joseph Stalin: “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.”
But behind these statistics are souls
favorite songs and dishes
smiles that light up
talents that fascinate
The history of humanity is replete with atrocities committed against fellow humanity.
All I know is a Jewish man from two thousand years ago is the only hope for Jews, Germans and Gentiles alike. He is the only one qualified to make the most evil wrongs right forevermore. His justice perfect. He gives grace to victims and perpetrators.
Because we all have been victims and perpetrators. We have been sinned against and we have sinned against others. The cross where love and justice perfectly meet is the only place in the Universe that can make sense of the evil around us and the evil within us.
Jesus is the final solution for the problem of man’s grave evil.
I pray the wounded and maimed people who bear his heritage would find an empathetic Messiah. The only one Who was wounded for all our “transgressions” and maimed for all our “iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5-10).
I’ll never forget the Holocaust.
I’ll never forget the One who will somehow make the most twisted devastating human eras right.