January 18, 2020
Shalom, shalom and greetings from Jerusalem!
This week, 40 global leaders will converge on Jerusalem for the International Leaders Forum to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The leaders include Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the Prince of Wales, the Presidents of Germany, France and Italy and the Kings of Spain and Belgium. Vice President Mike Pence will represent the USA.
On Thursday, January 23, these leaders will attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, under the title ‘Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Anti-Semitism’ convening at the Holocaust memorial Yad VaShem.
Ahead of this Jerusalem gathering, the European Jewish Association is inviting 100 parliamentarians and education ministers from across Europe as part of the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism as a delegation to Auschwitz. I will be going as a journalist along with a cameraman to cover this two-day event, January 20-21.
I first traveled to Poland in May 2016 for the annual March of the Living to Auschwitz-Birkenau and for a conference in Krakow marking the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials.
Now, three and half years later I’m going back for this event marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau (January 27, 1945). (It was the largest Nazi death camp, with an estimated 1.1 million Jews murdered there.) We will be staying 60 kilometers (36 miles) away in Krakow.
During my first trip to Poland I had many thoughts: Before the war 1/4 of the residents of Krakow were Jewish. There were 34 synagogues. (As of 2016) there were 800,000 residents of Krakow and just 120 Jews – yes 120 registered Jews – though there were more that were part of the Jewish community.
One Holocaust survivor who was there for the March of the Living told me “that monster didn’t win!” At the time she and her husband had 10 almost 11 offspring. As I walked on the road from Auschwitz to Birkenau, in the midst of thousands of Jewish people, many of them wearing Israeli flags, I thought – that’s the victory of life over death!!
On the night we left, we were returning from Auschwitz-Birkenau by bus and suddenly I looked out the window and there was a giant rainbow that stretched from one side of the road to the other. Maybe they have rainbows all the time in Poland but for me, it was a sign from God – He said He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. He sent the flood in the first place because man got so evil so fast and because he was made in the image of God he had almost unlimited abilities. And it was so bad God said He was sorry He made man.
But despite that, He said He’d never again curse the ground or destroy the earth with a flood (Genesis 8:20-8:22).
And there was another promise from God in Jeremiah 33:19. “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’”
This coming week’s events and the actual anniversary on January 27 take place against the backdrop of the recent upheaval in Iran, whose leaders have vowed the destruction of Israel. Some experts have said we are heading for World War III.
Please pray that it will be quiet in Israel during the visit of all these world leaders and they will all be safe and healthy to return home.
Pray that the press will not try to further humiliate Prime Minister Netanyahu during these visits but will rally around him as the leader of Israel.
We are planning to do an extra story while there on the Fountain of Tears – please pray for the timing and logistics to get what we need there.
Julie Stahl, CBN News Jerusalem