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"Chrisitans are to blame for the Holocaust"

Almost all the Jewish Holocaust survivors I meet are outspoken against Christianity, stating that they will never forget what the “church” did during the Second World War. The accusation is that Christians are to blame for the extermination of nearly six million Jewish people. But is that so?
If the church is to be blamed for the death of people during the Holocaust, it would appear that Christians are guilty of the deaths of other Christians, for it is well known that many victims of the Nazis were not Jewish. Furthermore, if you believe that a Christian is someone born in a country where the traditional religion is Christianity (Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity or Protestantism), then the non-Jewish victims from all over Europe were also Christians. So “Christians” killed not only Jewish people but people from their own faith! Either the church is guilty of the death of all in the camps – Jews and non-Jews – or there is a problem with people’s definition of the terms “church” and “Christian”.

When I speak with Jewish people in Bulgaria about the Holocaust and the role of the churches, I start by using the example of the Bulgarian Communist Party. It is common knowledge that there were people in the Party who were honest Communists and idealists; however it is also well known that there were people who were not particularly interested in ideology but stayed within the Party system solely because of the privileges it gave them. It is almost the same regarding Christianity and the churches. There are those who attend church, for a variety of reasons, but who are not devoted to the Bible and its principles. Yet there are others who know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, Messiah and Master. The latter group, who are part of the “invisible” church, I can call true Christians. They follow Jesus, the one who came for the lost sheep of Israel and who wept over Jerusalem. They don’t hate the Jewish people; they love them so much that during the Second World War some risked their lives to save Jewish people from the Nazis. These true believers also suffered (and are still suffering) at the hands of so-called Christians in former Communist Block countries and elsewhere.

Christians, as I understand it, are those born from above who follow Jesus every day of their lives; they are people who reveal God in their steps and who resolve to know nothing but the Messiah and Him crucified (1 Corinthians. 2:2). Christians are those who, by the grace of God, live such lives that the people around them are provoked to consider the Messiah and, hopefully, accept his Lordship over their lives
(Romans 11:13-14). Rather than building gas chambers for those who are outcast, Christians love them, as the Messiah does (Luke 4: 31-37; Mark 1: 40-45; Matthew 12: 22, 23). Rather than killing those who are disabled, Christians take care of them (Matthew 12: 9-13). Rather than hating the Jewish people, Christians love them because the Lord Jesus loved them (John 13:1); indeed he even died for the “house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24; John 11:49-52).

This is the way true Christians should live. Everything else is simply semantics.

This article first appeared in the December 2006 edition of the Herald


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