One of the harsh realities of life for the Jewish people over the past 2,000 years has been severe and often violent discrimination and hatred. The awful historical record shows that Jews have been the targets of fierce discrimination and even persecution in “Christian lands” over the centuries. The Vatican-inspired Crusaders deliberately murdered Jewish people during the Middle Ages. The Roman Catholic Inquisitions were directed against the Jews in Spain and elsewhere, leaving many dead or in prison. The pogroms of Russia and Eastern Europe forced Jews from their homes and left untold numbers dead.
As evil as these anti-Semitic assaults were, they all pale in comparison to the Holocaust of World War II. Some six million Jews perished in “Christian” Europe, at least one million of them children. They were the victims of a cruel regime that had sprung up in the very land where Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation. A full one-third of the entire Jewish race was wiped off the face of God’s green earth by Hitler’s Nazi forces. The utter horror of the Holocaust, as revealed by the testimonies of death-camp survivors, cannot be overstressed.
Too late, many Germans recognized the blessings that the Jewish people brought to their society before Hitler’s tragic rise to power. Jewish composers, scientists, doctors, teachers, writers, and others contributed their significant talents and intelligence to the land of Luther and were repaid with Hitler’s death chambers.
The world did nothing as the evil leader carried out the plan he had outlined in detail even before taking power to provide the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish problem.” Of course, this is not to say that all the world hated the Jewish people. Instead, they were willing to allow Hitler to rise to power and then to carry out his diabolical plan. It simply wasn’t “worth it” to stand up for God’s Chosen People.
In every Jewish air force base today, there hangs an aerial picture of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. The photo shows the railroads that entered the camp, taking tens of thousands of men, women, and children to their deaths. The reason these photos are there is as a reminder. During the war, the American pilots saw the camps and the train tracks and asked for permission to bomb the tracks to stop any more Jewish people from being carted to their deaths. President Roosevelt refused, stating that he needed the support of nations that hated the Jews to win the war. The carnage could have ended much sooner, but no one was willing to stand up and be counted to deliver the Jewish people from destruction.
Tragically, anti-Semitism—the hatred of Jewish people—did not perish with the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich. In fact, it is alive and well in our world today. If we do what the Church did during the Holocaust and remain silent and passive, history will tragically repeat itself. We must not allow that to happen!