“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)
On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
It is estimated that at least 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945.
Of those, approximately 1.1 million were murdered.
Just 10 days before the liberation, the Nazis gave the order that all remaining prisoners be killed.
As Soviet troops approached, camp inmates were forced on death marches.
About 15,000 died in that evacuation.
Those who survived the marches were transported to other camps.
The Soviets liberated about 7,000 sick and dying inmates at Auschwitz.
The annual commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day is on January 27 was an initiative of the State of Israel at the United Nations.
Resolution 60/7 was passed in November 2005 and this day now serves as an international warning to the dangers of genocide.
The 60/7 resolution states, “The Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities, will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism, and prejudice.”
“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
Jewish Holocaust survivors and their children are painfully aware of those who stood by and did nothing in the Holocaust.
We must never forget those who suffered during the Holocaust!
All genocides, including the Holocaust, can only take root when the local population allows such persecution to take hold.
Even though some supported and even facilitated policies of persecution, most of the people stood by quietly, not objecting in any way, afraid to speak out, or at worst, simply indifferent to what was happening to their fellowman.
Holocaust survivor and international author Elie Wiesel in his 1986 Nobel Prize acceptance speech revealed the powerful part that bystanders played:
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.
We must always take sides.
Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” (Nobel Prize)
This is a day for everyone to pause and remember the millions whose lives have been taken from them or changed beyond recognition.
This includes not only the victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution, but the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Myanmar and other countries.
It is a day both to honour the survivors of these catastrophes and to learn from what they experienced to better inform our own lives today.
This is a day for learning the lessons of the past and for realizing that genocide does not just happen; it is the result of a process that occurs over time when growing racism, discrimination, and hatred are left unchallenged and unchecked.
Moreover, it is a day for each of us to check our own heart for passivity in the face of hatred.
“Yeshua said, ‘If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.’” (John 9:41)
If we claim to follow Jesus the Messiah and see His truth that others don’t see, we then have a responsibility to not stand by, but reach out with love, hope, and compassion as Yeshua would do.
Discrimination has not ended, nor has the use of the language of hatred towards the Jewish people.
Today the United Nations is once again standing by and doing nothing while Israel fights for its survival.
It is vastly outnumbered by those who hate her.
But there is one advantage that has consistently and miraculously tipped the scales in favour of Israel, and always will.
The Jewish nation, although small and outnumbered, has a distinct advantage — God is on her side.
“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:2)