Insight on the News
Legacy of a Holocaust
● Each year a conference of Christians and Jews meets to discuss what is called the “Holocaust”—the mass destruction of Jews during the Nazi regime in Europe. In the last session, held this past March, Dr. Franklin H. Littell, professor of religion at Temple University, stated that “the murder of approximately 6 million Jews by baptized Christians in the heart of [Christendom] called into question the Christian faith as has not been done in nineteen hundred and some odd years.” He said the question produced a severe “spiritual wrestling” by the churches and added, “I’m not sure Christianity will survive.”
The blame for the mass murder of Jews, however, does not rest with Christianity. It rests with Christendom and her churches. The reason for the holocaust is plain: Christendom’s clergy and their flocks abandoned the teachings of the Bible and of Christ Jesus in favor of supporting the political state. Centuries of history show that this is by no means the first time they have done so. By contrast, thousands of European Jews can testify that one religious group in Germany underwent persecution equal to that heaped upon the Jews: Jehovah’s witnesses. Hundreds of these died in concentration camps. They suffered because of insisting on holding to and practicing true Christianity rather than worship of the State.
Church Silence on Euthanasia
● Yet another chapter of Nazi history is returning to haunt Christendom’s churches, namely, that of the Nazi euthanasia (so-called “mercy killing”) program. It was part of Hitler’s plan to produce a Teutonic superrace by ‘weeding out’ those considered to be weakening elements. Operating during 1939 to 1941, it resulted in the deliberate killing of an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 Germans and Austrians who were mentally defective, epileptic or physically deformed.
Now evidence is surfacing to show that Church leaders in Germany and elsewhere knew of this but generally chose to remain silent until much of the killing had passed. A Jesuit historian, writing in “Civiltà Cattolica,” presents evidence that Nazi officials first wanted some indication as to whether Church leaders would strongly oppose their program or not. They commissioned a professor of the Catholic theological seminary in Paderborn, Germany, to supply them with information on the subject. One of the Nazi officials involved is cited as saying that the Catholic theologian ‘anticipated no fundamental objection from the Church’ and that thereafter Hitler initiated the euthanasia program.
Under the heading “The Terrible Silence,” the “Sunday Times” of London shows that it was a year after the Nazi program had got under way that a Vatican broadcast first mentioned euthanasia unfavorably, but without reference to Germany. The euthanasia program was terminated in late 1941. Nearly two more years passed until the pope (Pius XII), on June 29, 1943, made an official statement condemning euthanasia. His statement was of no help to the thousands of adults and children who were already dead.
Significantly, in both cases the researchers (in “Civiltà Cattolica” and the London “Sunday Times”) point to the euthanasia program as a prelude to the mass liquidation of Jews that followed.
● Through the prophet Isaiah, Jehovah God foretold: “And Babylon . . . must become as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited.” (Isa. 13:19, 20) About a century later, Babylon’s overthrow as a kingdom came, in the year 539 B.C.E. Now a recent “Agence France-Presse” report tells of efforts to “rebuild ancient Babylon and the Tower of Babel.” Is Babylon really to be reinhabited?
No, the report actually deals with efforts by the Iraqi government to uncover and restore more of the remaining ruins of the ancient city that has lain desolate for centuries. An Italian archaeologist assigned the task is quoted as saying that Babylon “is not only covered with earth, but with subsurface water that has to be drained.” It still is the desolate waste and uninhabited place that Bible prophecy foretold it would be.