Holocaust Survivors Word on the Week 29th January 2022.
“I don’t want to read about them!” “Why can’t we be reminded about ‘Bloody Sunday, our own tragedy?” Anniversaries, anniversaries, they often remind us of what we would like to forget. And who can forget the photograph of the Priest waving the white handkerchief on Bloody Sunday? That handkerchief has been preserved – lest we forget!
And that is the point – we forget! There are also Holocaust deniers! People whose dislike of Israel translates into stating it never happened. Over 6 million Jews and Others were wiped out of history. Hitler would be proud of these anti-Semitisic people!
The annual Holocaust Memorial Day fell on last Thursday. It was commemorated, amongst other things, by Prince Charles commissioning portraits of 7 of the remaining survivors. These paintings, which were shown in a BBC TV programme, are to be hung in the Royal Gallery in Windsor. They will provide a lasting testimony to the atrocities of the death camps when those portrayed have died.
The portrait of Lily Ebert, now age 98, showed her wearing a tiny gold medallion. It had defied Nazi inspections by being hidden in the heel of her shoe. When the heel wore out she hid it in a piece of bread and thus it survived. It is worn every day and is her only possession to outlast the Holocaust. You can hear her account of her experiences on You Tube – https://www.cufi.org.uk/news/.
Most reading this blog could imagine something of what it would have been like to have been imprisoned in a concentration camp. Few, if any, would conceive what it was like to be a perpetrator of the atrocity. Yet Scripture speaks of the universality of sin and does not provide us with a scale (James Chapter 2 verse 10).
It is almost as if St Paul anticipated the holocaust. In his Roman letter he writes, “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! (Chapter 9 verses 1 – 5).
In the following chapter the Apostle reiterates his desire that the Israelites may be saved. He acknowledges their zeal for law-keeping in an effort to establish their own righteousness by-passing God’s righteousness and adds Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes in Jesus.