Shades of the past re-emerge

On a day when a man kills Jews in an American synagogue, I happen to be reading a novel in which the author speaks of Hitler and the countless people who “helped” him release his inner demons upon the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Hitler, the mouthpiece of hatred for Jews in his time and place, did not act alone.

“Oh they helped. Nearly all of them.” They were those “Who would not give visas and put barbed wire on their borders. Who threw stones through the window and spat.” And on and on went the list of accomplices — their names lost to history but accomplices of Hitler all the same.

“He could not have done it alone.”

Those who helped Hitler enact his hatred had long, maybe secretly, “dreamed” of destroying the Jews, the novelist wrote. Hitler “turned their dream into day.” His words of hate unleashed a storm of hatred against a people.

Hitler never spoke of the “barracks or the gas.” The “will to murder” was deep inside him and unspoken. The ruin of the Jews “was the air he moved in.”

“It was he,” Hitler. “With his scourge of speech and divining rod. His wrist breaking each time he passed her other men’s weakness. With his nose for the bestial,” Hitler’s “words made the venom spill.”

Such are the descriptions of the Holocaust in George Steiner’s 1979 book, The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H.

Hitler espoused a philosophy of strength and power to overwhelm those he considered weak and inferior. He represented evil come to life. Hitler provided the words, the passion, the motive for hate. Six million deaths followed.

But evil still roams about seeking whom it might consume. Words of hate still spill into public discourse. Such words kill spirits, and such words sometimes lead to the killing of living persons.

Again, we weep. We think it cannot happen again. It can. It, the possibility for hate, is inside all of us.

May we all suppress the little Hitler inside us that wants to escape, that wants to despise, hate, and even hurt those who are different and are a perceived threat.

The way of hate and ridicule is not the way of the one I desire to follow — Jesus. Isn’t it strange that the Holocaust arose among a “Christian” people. Isn’t it sad; isn’t it disgusting.

Beware of “Christian” nations. Seek Jesus people. It is those people who seek to follow Christ who bring life and love to their neighbors.

 

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