Face to Face with the Reality of the Holocaust

It can be difficult to grasp the reality of the Holocaust from books and history until one comes face to face with a survivor who has a real and palpable story to tell.  Only then one experiences shock, anger, grief, and compassion, all conglomerated in a mixture that is difficult to bear.

My patient was an 86-year-old Jewish woman from Poland who shared her story with me.  In 1941, around age 15 she was arrested along with her parents and five siblings, and taken to Auschwitz under the pretext that they would be given work and made productive members of society.  The pain, hunger, torture and tremendous loss this woman suffered cannot be put into words.

By early 1945 when Auschwitz was liberated, the Nazis had murdered her parents, two sisters and two teenage brothers.  She along with one brother were the only ones out of a family of eight to survive this unspeakable ordeal.  It was heartbreaking to hear the grief and pain she continues to bear after so many years, especially when talking about her teenage brothers whom she described as “the most beautiful boys you’ve ever seen.”

The Holocaust was nothing short of an example of depraved human nature at its worst.  If it wasn’t for God’s grace which put an end to the Nazi regime, many more Jews and other races would have been slaughtered.  And some have the audacity today to say that another Holocaust cannot happen because we live in a modern society who learns from past mistakes.  I say no, we are capable of another Holocaust and even worse!  And this is simply because of our fallen human nature and our depraved spiritual state without the salvation given through Jesus.

The Bible is clear about the state of humanity as David laments over our depravity in Psalm 14:

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good, not even one.

Remembering the reality and evil of the Holocaust leads us to understand the deep corruption of the human soul and the need for a Savior, which are the first steps in our restoration to where God wants us to be.  May God give each of us this great salvation available only through faith in Christ.

5 comments on “Face to Face with the Reality of the Holocaust

  1. Yes, we would never have another holocaust. I’m sure that the Pharisees who built the graves of the prophets said they’d never kill a prophet as their fathers had done either. Anyone who thinks that couldn’t happen today must be wholly unfamiliar with what is happening to Christians in much of the world today.

  2. The 180 movie by Ray Comfort
    shows that a “holocaust” can easily happen again- http://youtu.be/7y2KsU_dhwI

    and depending on your eschatology, it in fact will not only happen again, but it will be unprecedented in its brutality during the tribulation. Shades of it can already be seen in some countries in Africa where women and children are actually targeted.

    • I’ve seen this video, it was actually filmed here in Huntington Beach close to our community. Very eye opening. Unfortunately, American kids do not know the history of WWII and the Holocaust, and those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it… It really bothers me to see so much ignorance in this country on this subject… What should we expect then from the Ahmadinejad and the extremists in Iran, where elementary students are taught to hate Jews?

  3. A man is capable of being ethical and committing good deeds without Jesus or a god. The same way men commit awful deeds with him. You are right, another genocide could happen (some are happening as I write) but it won’t happen by trying to educate others of religion. We have to educate people of all cultures and religions and embrace diversity, not press one idea at the risk of shunning other cultures. Ideas like that got us into situations like the Holocaust in the first place. A very interesting read, however.

  4. I actually teach about the Holocaust and it’s amazing how much resistance I get.Some kids reject and even mock the message; however, others seem to understand the idea that Hitler was only tapping into the social , political, and economic forces that were already there and channeling them in an evil direction. They soon realize that the the same forces are still around today.

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