There is a profound exhibit at The Museum of Jewish Heritage commemorating those who perished during Jewish Holocaust, particularly at Auschwitz. I highly recommend a lengthy visit there to anyone visiting NYC.
I take a personal interest in the Holocaust as it sequentially follows the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide, 1915 to 1922. In fact, Hitler famously boasted,
“Our strength consists in our speed and our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter – with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak Western European civilization will say about me….. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” August 22, 1939, excerpt from Hitler’s orders to Wehrmacht commanders, a week prior to Nazi invasion of Poland.
Premeditated, systematic and diabolical, the Ottomans’ plan proved a formidable forerunner for the Nazis.
While Armenians, Jews, and other victims may cry, “Never again!”, we as believers understand that, even as our brethren are persecuted and suffer today, global persecution and annihilation is on the sure horizon.
The power of social engineering, scapegoating, and ostracizing was blatant in Germany, permeating the culture through education, media, and government. Wickedness was ripe in the hearts of Germans when a Jewish teenager avenged the deportation of his parents by killing a German diplomat. Kristallnacht – ‘the Night of Broken Glass’- was the horrific response. Fermented anti-Semitism exploded with violent destruction of Jewish stores, homes, schools, and synagogues. From one youth’s crime came the arrest of 30,000 Jewish men who were then sent to concentration camps, solely for being Jewish. While this unleashed the holocaust, Nazi Germany was strategically and socially prepared.
Those fortunate to visit this engrossing exhibit will see filmed testimonies, rare artifacts, Auschwitz reconstructions, military charts, photos and more. Juxtaposed against cruel and relentless suffering and death was the phenomena of overwhelming German passion and devotion to Hitler. Moreover, civilians and businesses were complicit in the murder of thousands systematically killed every day – none of the concentration camps, death chambers, and crematories could have functioned without architects, engineers, suppliers, builders, and transport experts.
Two grievous realities became evident at this exhibit. Despots like Talaat Pasha and Adolph Hitler are satanically inspired, if not indwelt. Secondly, evident in the filmed interviews and testimonies, is the heartbreaking reality that nearly all the Jews marked for destruction did not believe it or perceive it until they actually arrived and faced it.
We must commemorate and honor those who suffered and perished and uphold the memory of brave heroes that stood up and risked all on their behalf. But as believers in Jesus Christ and the living word of God, we must remember one more thing: tribulation, persecution and death await those saints who live as the Anti-Christ arises.
We may not believe it, we may not perceive it, but unwarranted hatred for Christians is fermenting. While our brethren in Islamic areas suffer daily, our plight is stirring in the undercurrents of social engineering, political posturing, and educational indoctrination. This world power, the Anti Christ, will be “…given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.”
Unlike Hitler, who basked in the adoration of Nazi Germany, the Anti Christ will be adored throughout the world, “…every tribe, people, language, and nation. All inhabitant of the earth will worship the beast..” Unimaginable?
The world watched as Christians and Jews were annihilated and the apathy continues today. But we, as believers, cannot afford to be complacent, scripturally ignorant, or enrapt with the world. This world is fermenting and cultivating an anti-Christ spirit that will ripen like ‘Kristallnacht’ – may we stand today and on that day in a way that honors our Lord.