International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Today’s Text: Deuteronmy 32:43
Attempts to annihilate the Jewish people have threatened them even before their existence as a nation. Pharaoh’s genocide of male infants is the first recorded incident. International Holocaust Remembrance Day memorializes the most insidious attempt in modern history.
While some would argue that God has reneged on His ancient promises to Abraham, the text below contradicts that notion:
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”
God will not only exact justice on behalf of His Chosen People, but promises to provide compensation for the land and to the Jewish people; the nations of the world are beckoned to celebrate that reality!
CHOOSING TO REMEMBER
As memory of the Holocaust fades in the world’s collective consciousness with the passing of firsthand witnesses, a new wave of anti-Semitism is swelling and sweeping across the landscape of Europe threatening the Western world.
On this important day of international remembrance, people of biblical faith must be the voice of truth refuting those attempting to revise, diminish and even deny the documented history of the Holocaust.
AN ENCOUNTER THAT CHANGED MY LIFE
Although few meetings are unforgettable and even fewer conversations memorable, my encounter with a World War 2 veteran almost 20 years ago is the exception.
While standing at the front of a church auditorium where I had just finished speaking, a determined man approached with steel-grey eyes intently focused on mine. Grabbing my hand in a vice-like grip, he implored, “Always remember; never forget.”
Eyewitness Testimony = Firsthand Evidence
As a soldier assigned to the armored division that liberated the Nazi death camps of Austria, this American veteran was a firsthand witness of the atrocities perpetrated by Nazi Germany. As he spoke to me, the crowd gathered around us fell silent. Seared into his memory were barracks where sick and infirm Jewish people were thrown one on top of another and left to die.
He’d seen piles of dead naked bodies ready to be bulldozed into open pits. His division discovered mass graves with some containing more than 15,000 Jewish victims. He never forgot the scenes of emaciated Jewish survivors barely able to walk and so weak upon liberation that their cheers were scarcely audible.
With his grip still crushing my hand, he warned that as the number of survivors and the soldiers who liberated the victims pass away, so the memory of Hitler’s Holocaust could potentially fade only to rise again in another evil even worse. He appealed to me to do all in my power to keep the memory of the crimes perpetrated against the Jewish people alive.
Holocaust Revisionism = Rewriting History
At the time, it seemed unthinkable that anyone would presume to discredit thousands of eyewitnesses, deny the atrocities of that gruesome era and attempt to persuade the public it never happened. Since my encounter with him, however, the legitimacy of his impassioned plea has become increasingly apparent.
What began as a Nazi propaganda effort shortly after the Second World War, Holocaust denial has evolved from the dogma of a disreputable fringe minority to a view increasingly foisted upon the world by media with an agenda.
Contending that the systematic extermination of some six million Jewish people by the Nazis never happened, Holocaust deniers use fallacious information, unsubstantiated claims and monotonous repetition to sear their lies into the consciousness of an unsuspecting public.
In the final analysis, Holocaust revisionism is nothing more than thinly camouflaged anti-Semitism.
Remembering the Holocaust = Standing in Solidarity Against Anti-Semitism
With each passing year, the number of eyewitnesses diminishes, but their testimony need not die with them. People of faith armed with the truth as recorded by those who saw the evidence firsthand must lead the way in stemming the tide of misinformation and unfounded claims of unscrupulous con artists who subvert with revisionist propaganda.
Use International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to inform yourself of the most organized, meticulously documented and unimaginably horrific attempt to destroy the world’s Jewish population ever perpetrated; and then be a voice for truth!
The veteran who’s impassioned, “Always remember! Never forget!” has left this life and is now with the Lord. He used every opportunity to share that he never forgot; and, neither should we!
The Jewish people must never again be subjected to the atrocities of another “Hitler.” God’s Word reminds us of the grave consequences of intentionally harming the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
People of faith must remember the Holocaust and stand in solidarity against anti-Semitism. Failure to speak and act on behalf of God’s Chosen People is nothing less than the reticence of complicity.
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken authentically communicates biblical truth making his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) Mauthausen survivors cheer the soldiers of the Eleventh Armored Division one day after their actual liberation. Banner reads: “The Spanish Anti-Fascists Salute the Liberating Forces.” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Colonel Hayden Sears (right) poses with a group of survivors in the newly liberated Ohrdruf concentration camp, [Thuringia] Germany, April 4, 1945 – April 30, 1945. Image, [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
3) Eight-year-old Yisrael Meir (Lulek) Lau held by fellow Buchenwald survivor, Elazar Schiff, as they arrive in Palestine aboard the RMS “Mataroa.” Haifa, Palestine, July 15, 1945. [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
4) A group of Jewish children wave goodbye as they depart by train from the horror of Buchenwald concentration camp. (The Buchenwald children were a group of approximately 1000 Jewish child survivors found by American troops when they liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11, 1945. [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
As hard as it must be to look back on those unimaginable times, thank you for sharing the realities that you endured during those dark days. The question of “Why” you survived and so many others perished must be left with the Almighty God. He alone has the perspective that transcends our human existence.
Rev. McCracken your grim reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust brings back my own inescapable memories. As a young child fleeing from the Stalinist regime with a couple of surviving family members, I saw Nazi cruelties firsthand that have plagued me for more than seven decades: a deep ditch, a line of people, men and pregnant women with one holding the hand of a toddler … all facing the ditch; then, the sound of rifle shots and nothing else. I whispered, “Mom, what are they shooting?” She told me, “don’t look back.” I don’t know how we escaped; or why.