“Always Remember—Never Forget”
By Charles E. McCracken
ISRAEL ED: Yom HaShoah
READ TODAY’S TEXT: PSALM 83:1-4, 12-18
DEUTERONOMY 32:43 (emphasis added)
“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.”
Few meetings are unforgettable; even fewer conversations memorable; but, my encounter with a World War 2 veteran some 20 years ago is the exception. Standing at the front of a church auditorium where I had finished speaking, he approached with steel-grey eyes intently focused on mine, grabbed my hand in a vice-like grip and implored, “Always remember. Never forget.”
As an America 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, the crowd around us fell silent.
Seared into his memory were barracks where the sick and infirm were thrown one on top of another and left to die. With his own eyes, 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 bodies. He never forgot the scenes of emaciated surviving Jewish people 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 them diminish, so the memory of Hitler’s Holocaust could fade only to rise again. He appealed to me to do all in my power to keep the memory of the crimes perpetrated against the Jewish people alive.
On April 23, 2017 at sundown, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) commences. In Israel, at the precise moment of sundown and again at 10:00 AM the following morning, sirens will shrilly wail and people will stop their normal daily routine for two minutes of solemn contemplation in memory of the 6 million who lost their lives at the hands of the Nazi regime.
I strongly encourage you to not only set an alarm to pause in a moment of silent solidarity with our Jewish friends, neighbors and co-workers; but, also determine to use Yom HaShoah to vocally counter those who aggressively attempt to diminish and co-opt the memory of the Holocaust.
The veteran whose impassioned words, “Always remember! Never forget!” has left this life and is with the Lord. Now, it’s up to people of biblical faith to rise-up and be the voice of truth.
People of biblical faith are accountable for their treatment of “the least of these” that our Lord identifies in the context of His future judgement of the nations as “my brethren”—His Jewish kinsman (Mt. 25:40)
The timeless words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian and modern day martyr who stood with God’s Chosen People during the intensity of the Holocaust, eerily reverberate into the 21st century:
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Look into the depths of your soul and dare to ask . . .”What does God require of me?”
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. With 40 plus years of ministry experience, Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes 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.
1) A group of orphans who are survivors of the Holocaust at the reception camp in Atlit, July14, 1944. By Zoltan Kluger, Israel Government Press Office (GPO), 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. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park. [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
3) A group of surviving Jewish children wave as they depart by train from the horror of Buchenwald concentration camp. By United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park., [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios