Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Great Evil

In the introduction to Corrie Ten Boom's amazing book, "The Hiding Place" she writes a snippet about her brother, Willem. He was a seminary student in Germany. In the year 1927 he wrote his doctoral thesis. In it he said, "A terrible evil is taking root in the land....seeds are being planted of a contempt for human life such as the world had never seen.

The few who read his paper had laughed.....

Few people could foresee the rise of Adolf Hitler and The Third Reich...and the systematic genocide of 6 million European Jews. It was unthinkable.

Several years later Corrie Ten Boom, her father and her sister were rounded-up, placed in railroad cattle-cars and shipped off to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, where Corrie watched thousands die of malnutrition, the firing squad, or placed in ovens. She witnessed her sister die of malnutrition. She only learned of her father's death after she was released, years later.

Corrie Ten Boom and the Ten Boom family weren't Jewish. They were Dutch. They watched helplessly as Nazi troops stormed into their quaint village in Holland in 1938. They had many friends, neighbors and business acquaintances who were Jews. One of their Jewish neighbors was, like the Ten Booms, a clock-maker. One day he didn't open his business. They thought he was ill. The next day he didn't open his business,... or the next. He simply "disappeared"....

They started noticing people on the street wearing yellow stars stitched to their clothing. It was the Star of David, with the word, "Juden" (the German word for "Jew") splashed across it. If you were Jewish you were required to wear it. If you didn't, then you were executed on the spot.

The Ten Booms lived in a large house that was actually two houses connected to each other. A house with a lot of strange twists and turns and mis-shapen rooms... an architectural nightmare. They were approached by a Jewish friend. Would they be willing to hide Jews? There were several who knew they were next to be rounded-up by the S.S. Would they be willing? There were risks.

They didn't hesitate. They said, "yes", of course, these are God's People. We'll do whatever we can.

Shortly they were visited by a nice older gentleman who went through their house and picked out a special "hiding place",... a small, narrow space behind Corrie's bedroom wall. It was perfect. He spent the next few days "remodeling" Corrie's room and turning it into a safe place to hide the Jews. Several came. There was room for approximately ten, if they didn't mind being stuffed like sardines while the Nazi soldiers tried their best to ferret them out.

The never could find....The Hiding Place.

But Corrie and her family members were identified as being those who were sympathetic to Jewish people. The Germans "knew" she and her family were hiding Jews,...whether they could be found or not.

So.... that's how Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, and their elderly father found themselves arrested and imprisoned. They were physically beaten...but they never gave up their friends, the Jews. They were well aware of the evil that had overtaken their nation...the evil, as Willem had said years earlier,....which was a contempt for human life unlike the world had ever seen.

It's called "Antisemitism". It's defined as a hatred towards a particular people group based on nationality or religion.

You may be asking yourself..... "Why is Bob writing about something like this?"....

I had just completed reading this book, "The Hiding Place". I read it probably 25 years ago and it had made a lasting impression on my mind. Twenty-five years ago.....

Then, I just happen to turn on the television and I saw this video that came out just a few days ago. It was a video from Germany. An Islamic cleric was giving a hate-filled speech and a rant against Israel and "The Jews".
The link to the video that was placed on Youtube is on my original email to you. A new Corrie Ten Boom perhaps? We should all ask ourselves.... "Could I do this?".... "Would I be brave enough to stand up to the hate and violence of evil?".... "Could I, at least, "try" to keep history from repeating itself?"

There's an old saying: "Those who won't learn from history are bound to repeat it".

That saying is so true,...and, I believe, especially relevant for the days in which we live.

"When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent: I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists, I remained silent: I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I was not a Jew.

When they came for me.... there was no one left to speak out."...... Martin Niemoller

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