Nov. 27, 2019 (Top photo – IDF soldiers gather at Yad Vashem Oct. 2, 2019. All photos by Steve Martin.)
Anyone who ever, ever, denies the Holocaust is either deranged, senile, or cannot read, see, or understand the facts of history.
During World War II, Germany, under the evil reign of the Third Reich, murdered over 6,000,000 Jews, along with millions of other “non-acceptable” men, women, and children. It was a well-documented method applied to wipe out a culture, a people, families chosen by God.
Hitler and the Nazis, claiming to be “Christian”, gassed-to-death innocent lives, empowered by the hellish forces and propelled by Satan himself, claiming to do all in the name of Christ. With this and previous onslaughts against the Jewish people, including the Spanish Inquisition and Holy Crusades, to name but two others, all this evil that has been done “in the name of Christ” is beyond being horrendous and atrocious. It has stained our Lord’s Name to the point of becoming a curse word in the Hebrew language.
If ever there was a demonic embodiment of the fallen, evil angel, it was the Chancellor of the German Reich. Along with the Schutzstaffel, it was a major paramilitary organization under Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II. It began with a small guard unit known as the Saal-Schutz (SS) made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security for party meetings in Munich. (Wikipedia)
Anyone traveling to Jerusalem certainly needs to have the Holocaust Museum on their “must-see” list of places to visit. For Gregory Louis, David Louis, Lathan “E-Louis”, and myself, Steven Louis, it was our Christian duty, to stand with the Jews, and see again the reality of that terrible time which occurred in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe.
As true believers in the same God, the Living God of Israel, we must stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters. We too must understand and denounce anti-Semitism, whenever and wherever it takes place, so this will never, never happen again, especially on our watch. So, help us, God.
I personally have been to Yad Vashem at least 5 times in my 22 trips to the city. Each time I read the stories told by the aging survivors remembering their childhood nightmares, see the displays portraying the terrific horror, watch the news videos of humans being led like cattle onto the train cars, packed to the point of no allowance for movement as they are hauled away across national boundaries – all while encountering the lasting hurt, rejection, pain, suffering, and such evil actions committed against the Jews – it has never been any easier to absorb.
While the other three split off, each of us having two hours on our own, I have another plan, to watch the reaction of others to what they see, hear, and experience in their souls and emotions.
This time I stood near the center of the main building, built to resemble a long ark, as the many nationalities, primarily Jews, walk quietly through. Distinctly I hear only the voice of a tour guide speaking in another language other than English, as others with earphones gather around.
I personally found a midway spot and stood to observe the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) young soldiers and naval personnel, most, if not all, in their late teens, a year or so out of high school as the mandated time all are called to serve. There were many groups of them.
Knowing what little I do about their training, I have been told by ones who have served that they are required to visit the historical locations throughout the land where battles in defense of their nation have taken place over these previous past 70 plus years, since 1948. On May 14 of that year, David Ben Gurion stood at the Independence Hall and declared the birth of the nation, in one day, as prophesied centuries before.
“Hear the word of Adonai, you who tremble at his word: “Your brothers, who hate you and reject you because of my name, have said: ‘Let Adonai be glorified, so we can see your joy.’ But they will be put to shame.” 6 That uproar in the city, that sound from the temple, is the sound of Adonai repaying his foes what they deserve.
7 Before going into labor, she gave birth; before her pains came, she delivered a male child. 8 Who ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Is a country born in one day? Is a nation brought forth all at once? For as soon as Tziyon went into labor, she brought forth her children. 9 “Would I let the baby break through and not be born?” asks Adonai. “Would I, who cause the birth, shut the womb?” asks your God.
10 Rejoice with Yerushalayim! Be glad with her, all you who love her! Rejoice, rejoice with her, all of you who mourned for her; 11 so that you nurse and are satisfied by her comforting breast, drinking deeply and delighting in the overflow of her glory.” Isaiah 66:5-11, Complete Jewish Bible
One feature of the museum acres that I particularly appreciate is the trees planted in memory of those Christians, Jews and others who did help Jews escape from the Nazis, hiding them in their homes and barns, with whatever means possible during those exterminating war years. You might recall the name of Corrie Ten Boom and her book, The Hiding Place, which also later was made into a movie of the same name.
“The Hiding Place is a 1971 book on the life of Corrie ten Boom, written by her and John and Elizabeth Sherrill. The idea of a book on ten Boom’s life began as the Sherrills were researching for the book God’s Smuggler about ten Boom’s fellow Dutchman, Andrew van der Bijl.
As quoted from her book, “I pray that God forgive them…” Corrie Ten Boom stood naked with her older sister Betsie, watching a concentration camp matron beating a prisoner. “Oh, the poor woman,” Corrie cried. “Yes. May God forgive her,” Betsie replied. And, once again, Corrie realized that it was for the souls of the brutal Nazi guards that her sister prayed.
Both woman had been sent to the camp for helping the Jews. Christ’s Spirit and words were their guide; it was His persecuted people they tried to save—at the risk of their own lives; it was His strength that sustained them through times of profound horror.
Here is a book aglow with the glory of God and the courage of a quiet Christian spinster whose life was transformed by it. A story of Christ’s message and the courage woman who listened and lived to pass it along—with joy and triumph!” (Wikipidia)
Later again I walked through the other buildings, one with just a few flames burning on a pitch-black ground with very dark, tomb-like surroundings, among the names of the death camps in Poland and elsewhere on the ground; and another with photos of the murdered kids flashing on panes of glass extending from floor to ceiling, while single lights give off the only lights along the interior walkway. We then gathered together for lunch in the cafeteria prior to leaving.
Before we boarded the light-rail train back to the center of Jerusalem, I mentioned to the others about walking through the national soldiers and governmental cemetery, Mount Herzl National Cemetery, adjacent to the holocaust museum. Lathan simply replied, “I have seen enough death for today.”
As we would continue the ahava adventure the next few days, I for one allowed the Lord to further grow His committed love in my heart for these people, further committing to do all I can to bring more here on such trips. For this purpose, I will keep on giving of myself in being a connecting vessel for them, to also help assist in establishing lifelong friendships. At the same time, helping others to realize more fully the necessity of standing with those who have given us our Jewish roots in the faith, and now live with the desire of peace utmost in their hearts. This is a life worth living.
May you and I be instruments of His peace.