Why care about the Holocaust today?
While this may not be a question many of us ask, it is sadly still a point of debate; often even a misused and mistold event. Countless people of varying ages, and in ALL walks of life, don’t even realize what the Holocaust ever occurred! It is a disgrace and a shame upon all of humanity that this event is being forgotten with each passing year.
One Jewish woman, Ms. Weil, currently living in Switzerland, was tattooed in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. When she recently went for bloodwork in Switzerland, the young technician on duty, upon seeing the tattoo, thought it was the woman’s telephone number! How heartbreaking must it have been to not only have a reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust and her lost family tattooed on her arm, but also, years later, to have someone so ‘educated’ not recognize the tale that it told.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”—Psalm 42:5
It is stories such as this one that help to remind us why it is so important to remember and care about what happened during the Holocaust.
Over six million Jews were slaughtered during the Holocaust, but millions of people today don’t remember this. It is not always taught in schools, and when it is, the accuracy and entirety of the story is not always told.
“…Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” —Ruth 1:16-17
One way the importance of remembering the Holocaust and its victims can be displayed is by looking at the lives of those who didn’t survive the horrific ordeal. Looking back and remembering those who perished ensures that the lessons of the past are brought into the future.
SHMUEL DAVID BURSZTYN:
Shmuel David Bursztyn is a wonderful example of a Jewish man who was living a simple, happy life before his world was turned upside down.
Born in 1874, Shmuel David Bursztyn was raised in Pultusk, Poland by loving Jewish parents. It was in this town where he met Gisha, the woman he would marry before moving to the city of Warsaw.
In Warsaw Shmuel owned his own bakery for many years. While the living was modest, he, his wife, and their eight children were eventually afforded the opportunity to move into a larger 2-bedroom apartment in a safe area of the city.
Not long after the Bursztyn’s moved, Shmuel decided to close his own shop and begin to work for a local bakery, Kagan Bakery, which was a most notable kosher bakery in all of Warsaw.
In September 1st, 1939, Germany began to invade Poland, and shortly thereafter, the city of Warsaw was found under siege. It was during this time that the Nazi regime established the Warsaw ghetto in order to contain all of city’s Jewish inhabitants.
When the Warsaw ghetto was built in November of 1940, the Bursztyn’s apartment was found to be within the confines of that ‘prison.’ The family didn’t have to relocate, but that was a small comfort. Shmuel was able to keep his job at the bakery, as it was also located in the ghetto, and fortunately, yet unfortunately, this meant that Shmuel, then in his late sixties, didn’t work for the Nazis and was not vital to their war efforts.
On April 12th, 1942 in the pre-dawn hours, Shmuel was returning home from work when German soldiers were out searching for non-essential Jews. Considered non-essential, Shmuel was taken prisoner and soon after killed—he was 68 years old.
In July of that same year Shmuel’s widow Gisha, despite her best efforts, was taken to an extermination camp called Treblinka where she was gassed—murdered at 65 years of age.
“When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise…”—Psalm 42:4
How can people forget this?
How is it not important to remember?
When we see a story such as that of Shmuel and Gisha who ultimately lost not only their dignity, but their very lives, or of an elderly Jewish survivor who suffered but survived at the hands of the Nazis only to meet people who don’t remember but should… we wonder, how could anyone not see the importance of remembering them? The loss of dignity, family, and life is beyond our comprehension!
Would you or I be able to live and laugh again after losing our family, friends, and home?
Even if it’s only to remember what can happen when people are silent, or when people let the nature of God depart from them; even if that was all we took away from this, then at least the past would not be forgotten.
Over half of the innocent victims of the Holocaust were Jews! God made covenant with them, and since we, the Gentiles, are grafted in—it affects us directly.
“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh… that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” —Ephesians 2:11-13
Since we, as Gentile Believers, are grafted-in, shouldn’t we care what happened to our Jewish brothers and sisters? Even if we ignore the basic principle, that they were people made in the image of God… shouldn’t we still care?
Yes, we should… We should never forget any of the victims or survivors. We should never forget that in the book of Romans it is repeatedly said that it is to the Jew first, then to the Gentile.
If it is to the Jew first, then don’t we want to bless them so that we too are blessed? Don’t we want to shine the light of God on them so that they will shine it to the world?
Let us be a light to the Jews, a blessing to them and Israel. Let us never forget that THEY are chosen of God. God gave His ultimate sacrifice so that WE might be a part of this blessing; that the covenants God made to the Jews would also cover us.
Let us take the blessings of God and pass them on! Through our My Olive Tree’s Holocaust Victim Legacy Package YOU can sponsor a tree in the name of a Holocaust victim AND provide a warm blanket to a Holocaust survivor. By doing this you are letting them, and the people of Israel, know that you have not forgotten them, that the Gentile Believers of the world see them and love them! Let us be a light of remembrance and of hope—Hope in God!