Liberation of Auchwitz

“Only the person who cries out for the Jews
may sing Gregorian chant.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Seventy years ago today the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated.

An era ended – an era of mass extermination of Jews, the handicapped, homosexuals, and others.

The failure of many, including the Church, to stand up against Hitler struck me deeply in the early sixties, when I was in high school.

I continue to look at those who did speak up and who paid the price, especially people like the Austrian peasant Franz Jägerstätter as well as Sophie Scholl and other members of the White Rose.

The stories of people who hid Jews and others touches me deeply, especially the story of André and Magda Trocmé and the village of Le Chambon in France.

The failure to speak out awakened me to the need to be a witness against all injustice.

The witness of those who did stand up for the Jews inspires me to do just that.

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One response to “Liberation of Auchwitz

  1. The thought has occurred to me, John:
    I cannot help wondering what Dietrich Bonhoeffer would think of the human rights atrocities (genocide) that the current Israeli Zionist government is inflicting upon the Palestinians, an indigenous population.

    I am now reading two books that I have recently seen critiqued:
    (1) “The Shadow of His Wings,” by Gereon Karl Goldmann, O.F.M. (b.1916), Ignatius Press, 1964. It is the account of his incredible experiences as a young German seminarian drafted into the SS at the onset of WWII and of the persecution that he and his fellow Catholic German soldiers encountered because of their faith. Perhaps you are familiar with this work, or with Fr. Goldmann’s life story.

    (2) “Priestblock 25487; a Memoir of Dachau,” by Fr. Jean Bernard (1907-1994), Zaccheus Press, 2004. Fr. Bernard, a Belgium native, was arrested, tortured by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp. He was housed in a special barracks along with 3,000 clergymen of various denominations (the vast majority Roman Catholic priests).

    I was pleased to see that you included at least two groups other than the Jews in your description of the Holocaust (to ‘burn whole’), even though clergy of all faiths and thousands of Christian laity and people of other faiths were not included. Since the end of WWII we have heard and read about the inhuman treatment of people who suffered during the Nazi regime. Mostly we hear about the ‘six million Jews’ without ever acknowledging that there were over nine million human beings in total who were killed during that infamous period of world history.

    Now, in a perverse addendum to that history we see that the Israeli Zionist government is perpetrating the same kind of evil against innocent people as did the Nazis in 1933-1945 in Europe. What obscene irony. And the rest of the world — especially our country, sits by and watches it all happen. Added to our complicity in this genocide is the fact that we send Israel billions of dollars of our tax dollars annually – most of which they use for armaments and the IDF armed force that rips Palestinians from their homes and lands where they have lived for several generations. Shame on us!

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