A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel is weeping for her children because they are not. Jeremiah 31 v15

The Holocaust        ha Shoah

Although the Holocaust was the most awful crime perpetrated on man by man, it was the worst of a series of persecutions carried out on the Jewish people through history.  It is not sufficient to study the Holocaust simply in order to prevent it being repeated.  Even though it is true that "Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them", a knowledge of history does not guarantee such things will not happen again since they spring from the fallen nature of mankind.  Holocaust awareness alone is not the solution, but the remaking of men's hearts by the grace of God.  

Some are indifferent, some avoid confronting the horror of the Holocaust, and some actively deny the Holocaust in spite of all the evidence.  The motives of those who are deny the Holocaust in spite of all the documented evidence must be deeply suspect. 

Holocaust denial is a prelude to programmes to do away with the Jews and Israel, as was the emergence of National Socialism in Germany in the 1930s.

Sadly, even the word "Holocaust" is now being cheapened and stolen from the Jews by its application to other wrongs and political causes.  This is a trend that should be resisted.

For a thorough history of the Holocaust visit  http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/timeline.html

For a large archive of written and photographic material (free for use) visit http://www.holocaust-history.org

For a site dedicated to remembering the victims and countering denial visit     http://www.nizkor.org

For a story of the Holocaust visit    http://www.bethshalom.com      or    http://www.yadvashem.org.il    the websites of Holocaust museums.

The archive pictures on this page are used by courtesy of Holocaust History.org. The Holocaust History sites linked above should be checked out for details and context of the pictures. Wildolive is offering only an introduction to the Holocaust, not an expert resource. Serious students of the subject are recommended to research the available material for themselves.

"The non Jew may fail to comprehend the gigantic and the grotesque character of a persecution that became an inverted religion, the chief catalyst in the building of a fearsome totalitarian regime and the first experiment in total genocide."
       

  (The Anguish of the Jews by E H Flannery )

"A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel is weeping for her children,     Because they are not.  

              Jeremiah 31 v15

The roots of the Holocaust lay in the depression of 1923 in Germany and the failure of the Weimar Republic to deliver a solution.  Germans looked for a face saving solution and found it in a revival of anti-Semitism (The Jews were to blame and were the agents of Germany's enemies.  This, and a fierce and romantic nationalism spawned the National Socialist party, and the National Socialist German Workers Party  (NAZI) led by Adolf Hitler.   With crude and reckless oratory he built a following for his new vision of the rebirth of a triumphant, pure Aryan German "Volk"  built from ideas from Superman philosophy of Nietzsche, Wagnerian neo-paganism from Bayreuth and anti-democratism from Spengler.   This movement was anti-Christian, but sought to carry the Church along with it by appealing to strains of anti-Semitism within it.

The outworking of this creed started with desecrations of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues.  (one hundred and eighty five between 1923 and 1932 )

See also Boycott, since a boycott of Jewish shops was an early step in the progress towards the Holocaust.

Whilst imprisoned for a putsch, Hitler wrote the notorious Nazi bible, "Mien Kempf" in he which poured out his hatred for Jews in the most crude and vulgar terms and set out his design for the final solution ( Endlosung ).   This solution was  "Juda Verrecke!"  ( Jewry Perish ).  European Jewry comprised eleven million people, including all the nations Hitler planned to conquer.  Once he came to power in 1933 his forces gradually turned up the terror and set about degrading the Jews.  The process hardened the German people without upsetting other nations enough to provoke protest.

How does anti-Semitism change into a Holocaust? - The Genocide Mechanism

Non Aryans were purged from the professions.

Jewish books were burnt.

Jews had to wear an identifying badge.

Intellectuals supported the perversion of the arts, history, science and archaeology to the new Germany.

"Where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too."  -  Heinrich Heine   1830.

When a young Jew shot a minor Nazi official at the Paris embassy, out of rage at the treatment of twelve thousand Polish Jews, the reprisal was swift and terrible.  At 1:20AM on November 10th the Nazis launched a huge "popular demonstration" which became known as "Krystallnacht" - (the night of broken glass)  100 Jews died and 35,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps, 7500 shops were looted and 600 synagogues were burned.  The Jews were charged for the cost of the repairs.

In May 1939 a ship, the St Louis, left Hamburg carrying 930 Jews to Cuba.  They all had valid landing certificates, but during the two week voyage the pro-fascist government invalidated the certificates of all but 22.  The rest were also turned away from the USA and returned to Europe.  287 were allowed into Britain and the rest were distributed among mainland nations where they subsequently became victims of the Nazis.   On 12th December 1941 the Struma left Romania for Palestine carrying 769 Jews.  The British authorities refused to allow them to land and the ship was turned around.  In February 1942 it sailed into the Black Sea where it was intercepted and sunk by a Soviet submarine as an "enemy target".

When Hitler moved into Poland and Czekoslovakia the world forgot about the plight of the Jews and the Expulsion of Europe's Jews began in earnest.  Jews were rounded up and taken to "reservations" or walled into ghettos in cities.   Plans for the Expulsion of the Jews extended to the whole of Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland.

"I can see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions - and yet, if I look into the heavens, I think that it will all come out right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.  In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out."
     

(From Anne Frank’s Diary, July 15th 1944.  Anne Frank and her family did not survive the war.)

A mother and children awaiting deportation.

 

Expulsion merged into Extermination as the SS Einsatzgruppen followed the lightning advances of the Wehrmacht which trapped 1,500,000 Jews.

These killings were so hard to stomach, even for Hitler's loyal followers, that other methods were developed.  In 1942 and 1943 Jews were loaded into trucks for transport.  These trucks were modified to fill the load-space with  carbon monoxide from the engine's exhaust and kill the passengers on the journey.

"I had heard Eichmann's description of Jews being mown down by the Special Squads {Emsa.tzkommandos} armed with machine-guns and machine- pistols. Many gruesome scenes are said to have taken place, people running away after being shot, the finishing off of the wounded and particularly of the women and children. Many members of the Einsatzkommandos, unable to endure wading through blood any longer, had committed suicide. Some had even gone mad. Most of the members of these Kommandos had to rely on alcohol when carrying out their horrible work. "
   (from the testimony of Rudolph Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz)

During this time thousands were dying of malnutrition, disease, forced labour and abuse, both in the camps and in the ghettos.

Others died or suffered as a result of medical experimentation.

500,000 died in the Warsaw ghetto.

Jews hanged in Hungary

Even this was not fast enough so the death camps were opened at Chelmo, Maidanek, Treblinka, Belsen, and Sobibor and 10,000 a day were transferred there.  The able bodied were used as slave labour, as long as they were able.

In 1943, operations were speeded up with the opening of Auschwitz, which was capable of cremating 10,000 corpses a day.  

The majority of the 2,000,000 Jews who died there did so of inhuman abuse before  they got to the gas chambers.
The death camps used bunkers which were made to look like shower rooms, with fake shower heads, into which the victims were herded after having first been made to undress.  

Clothes, gold fillings, spectacles and other items were collected.

Once they were sealed in the gas was put in.  It was a preparation of Prussic Acid called Cyclon B which was already in use as an insecticide in the camps.

spectacles belonging to murdered Jews

People often wonder at the picture of six million Jews going meekly to their deaths but there are several things to bear in mind.  
1

The stories of Jewish resistance are seldom told.   The Jews were not a nation that could go to war and The Jews do not seem as inclined as the Americans and British to go on about what they did in the War.

There were revolts in the Concentration camps and Ghettos and Jewish Partisan resistance groups     (In the Warsaw ghetto in April 1943 the Jews held out against tanks and flamethrowers for thirty three days, armed only for sniping.  At the end many survivors took their own lives.  100-150 Germans died and 7000 Jews - 20,000 were sent to Treblinka)  

See   http://warszawa.getto.pl for more precise information

When the Nazis set up a ghetto in the city and started massacring Jews, the Bielski brothers went into the forests around Navagradak in Belarus .  They provided a haven for all the Jews who escaped and built up a partisan group of 1200 which harassed the Nazis for the duration of the occupation.
2

  

 The Jews were aware of the terrible revenge the Nazis wrought for acts of defiance.  (The town of Lidice was erased from the face of the earth, and all its inhabitants killed in reprisal for a resistance ambush on a patrol)
3     Many were probably past resistance having worked as slaves until too weak to be of further use,   
 Camp staff did everything possible to disguise what was about to happen - they were led to believe they were entering shower blocks,
5

 Jewish collaborators were used to deceive the victims and put them at their ease,

On arrival at the "Cottage," they were told to undress. At first they went calmly into the rooms where they were supposed to be disinfected. But some of them showed signs of alarm, and spoke of death by suffocation and of annihilation. A sort of panic set in at once. Immediately all the Jews still outside were pushed into the chambers, and the doors were screwed shut. With subsequent transports the difficult individuals were picked out early on and most carefully supervised. At the first signs of unrest, those responsible were unobtrusively led behind the building and killed with a small-calibre gun that was inaudible to the others. "       
(from the testimony of Rudolph Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz)

The Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem remembers those who did not go along with the Nazis.  

Many in the Netherlands hid Jewish families, as described in "The Hiding Place" by Corrie TenBoom.  Many paid with their lives!   When the instruction came to Denmark that the Jews must wear the star, the King said that there were only Danes in their country and every citizen wore the star.  The Danes managed to get all their Jews to safety in small boats.  (one is displayed at Yad Vashem)

On 27th January 1945 the Red Army arrived at Auschwitz.      This was not the end of the suffering, as those who were well enough had been marched away from the front lines on what became known as the "Death Marches".  They were marched hundreds of miles without food or shelter, as a consequence of which many died on the way.

( 27th January is the date the UK marks as Holocaust Memorial day.    Yom ha Shoah is observed in Israel on 2nd Iyar.      (see The Jewish Calendar)

The above is an attempt to address the significance of the Holocaust to the Jewish people.  It is not a subject one would choose to explore, but is one that should be confronted by the Christian.  The nature of evil has not changed and our Adversary has not finished with us yet.  Please check out what is said above with your own reading, Internet research and a visit to a Holocaust museum.

Remember the words of an American Jew who said that he still can not help looking at his Gentile friends and wondering,  "Would you look after my grandchildren?"

The Palestinian - Nazi Connection

A picture taken in 1943 of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el-Husseini reviewing Bosnian-Muslim troops - a unit of the "Hanjar (Saber) Division" of the Waffen SS, which he personally recruited for Hitler.

  www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/medigest/may00/arabnazi.html

Once in Berlin, the Mufti received an enthusiastic reception by the "Islamische Zentralinstitut" and the whole Islamic community of Germany, which welcomed him as the "Führer of the Arabic world." In an introductory speech, he called the Jews the "most fierce enemies of the Muslims" and an "ever corruptive element" in the world. Husseini soon became an honored guest of the Nazi leadership and met on several occasions with Hitler. He personally lobbied the Führer against the plan to let Jews leave Hungary, fearing they would immigrate to Palestine. He also strongly intervened when Adolf Eichman tried to cut a deal with the British government to exchange German POWs for 5000 Jewish children who also could have fled to Palestine. The Mufti's protests with the SS were successful, as the children were sent to death camps in Poland instead.

The Warsaw Ghetto

This introduction to the Holocaust would be incomplete without a mention of the Warsaw Ghetto. The date for Israel's Shoah day is fixed on the date of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising; not on the liberation of Auschwitz as is the Gentile Holocaust Day. See http://warszawa.getto.pl for a thorough treatment of the history and happenings.

The different choice of date is significant since it reflects a different view of Jewish suffering in the Shoah. The Israeli emphais is on determination, endurance and heroism, while others nations remember only the suffering, defeat and death.

Where was God in Auschwitz?

Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of United Kingdom, says,

" I answer as follows: God was in Auschwitz in the command "thou shalt not murder", in the words "you shall not oppress the stranger", in the words "your brother's blood cries to me from the ground". God was saying those things to the German people and they didn't listen. I cannot let human beings off the hook by blaming things on God; if I do then I'm betraying the mission that he sent me and sent all of us. We cannot escape from responsibility; Judaism is God's call to responsibility."

Where was God and why did he allow the Holocaust to happen?

God sent prophets to warn people to flee. As in this testimony...

He paused for a moment and once again was lost in the past.  His smile faded.  Pain filled his wrinkled face.  “I remember one Shabbos in 1938 when Vladimir Jabotinsky came to the shul”  (Jabotinsky was Menachim Begin’s mentor – he was a fiery orator, an unflinching Zionist radical, whose politics were to the far right.)  Joe continued “When Jabotinsky came, he
delivered the drash on Shabbos morning and I can still hear his words burning in my ears.  He climbed up to the shtender, stared at us from the bima, glared at us with eyes full of fire and cried out. ‘EHR KUMT. YIDN FARLAWST AYER SHTETL – He’s coming.  Jews abandon your city.’ ”
 
We thought we were safe in Lithuania from the Nazis, from Hitler.  We had lived there, thrived for a thousand years but Jabotinsky was right -- his warning prophetic.  We got out but most did not.”

Updated 27/03/12

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