A vigil to mourn the death of 60-year-old Lori Kaye and those injured at the Chabad synagogue shooting in San Diego, California on Shabbat, April 27, 2019. (ODN YouTube Capture)
“For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones.” (Psalm 102:3–5)
The tragic shooting at the Chabad synagogue in San Diego, California on the last day of Passover this past Shabbat is a vivid reminder that hatred toward the Jewish People is still alive and well 74 years after the Holocaust death camps were liberated.
The shooter believed lies that have been told for centuries about the Jewish People, lies similar to those told by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, which convinced millions of educated Germans and other Europeans to try to exterminate the entire Jewish bloodline.
They succeeded in murdering six million Jews, including many relatives of our ministry staff.
These were the same lies that the shooter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania believed when he killed eleven people on Shabbat six months earlier at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Because we can never forget the tragic consequences of such evil lies and genocidal plans, Israel instituted Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day), which begins tonight.
Israelis set aside this day to remember the six million Jewish people — one third of the world’s Jewish population who were murdered in the Holocaust.
While the death camps were liberated 74 years ago this month, the threat of exterminating the Jews is not over, whether it is a lone gunman shooting up a synagogue or Iran attempting to send nuclear missiles into the Jewish nation.
Both countries and individuals continue to make plans in public and behind closed doors to exterminate the Jewish People as they did in the years leading up to the Holocaust.
Since today is Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us remember how it was systematically planned and consider how such plans are unfolding today, so that we may have the foresight and courage to stop it.
The Plan to Eliminate the Jews
On January 20, 1942, several high-ranking Nazi party and German government officials gathered at the beautiful villa in the photo above to decide the Final Solution for the Jewish People.
The term “Final Solution” was the codename for the systematic, deliberate, physical annihilation of the European Jews, a plan that Germany’s leader Adolf Hitler had authorized sometime during 1941. (USHMM)
SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich, who was then the director of the Reich Main Security Office; RSHA, called the meeting.
The goal was to ensure the cooperation of the administrative heads of various government departments in the implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish question, in which most of the Jews of German-occupied Europe were to be deported to Poland and murdered.
“During the course of the Final Solution, the Jews will be deployed under appropriate supervision at a suitable form of labor deployment in the East. In large labor columns, separated by gender, able-bodied Jews will be brought to those regions to build roads, whereby a large number will doubtlessly be lost through natural reduction.
“Any final remnant that survives will doubtless consist of the elements most capable of resistance. They must be dealt with appropriately, since, representing the fruit of natural selection, they are to be regarded as the core of a new Jewish revival, “ Heydrich announced.
These plans began a decade earlier with the rise of the Nazi regime and its leader Adolf Hitler.
How a Nation of Murderers Was Made
“With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.” (Psalm 83:3)
The Nazis (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) rose in power following WWI, promoting an ideology of anti-Semitism and racial purification through eugenics — an attempt to improve the quality of humanity’s gene pool by eliminating all unfit specimens.
They also promoted the need for territorial expansion.
The Nazis intended to invade Poland and the Soviet Union and deport or kill the Jews and Slavs living there, since they were viewed as inferior to the Aryan “master race.”
In Germany, the legal discrimination of Jews had been put into force immediately following Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor on the 30th of January 1933, at which time he and the Nazi party that he led seized dictatorial power.
The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service was passed as early as April 7, 1933, making it illegal for Jews to practice law or to serve in the civil service. Other legislation restricted them from other professions.
Initially, economic sanctions, such as these labor laws, as well as violence, had been employed to force Jews to voluntarily leave the country. The systematic killing of Jews began following the invasion of Poland in September of 1939 and accelerated following the invasion of the Soviet Union in June of 1941.
In July of 1941, Hermann Goring, head of Germany’s defense forces and second in command to Hitler, authorized Heydrich in writing to prepare a plan for the “Total Solution of the Jewish question” in those areas that were under German control.
As well, to define the limits of the exterminations, they had to determine who were Jewish.
Only people with four German non-Jewish grandparents (four white circles – leftmost column) were considered to be “full-blooded” Germans.
The two center columns in the chart above show the Mischling grade (determining how Jewish one was), either 1 or 2, depending on the number of one’s Jewish ancestors who were members of a Jewish synagogue.
It was decided in future meetings (after the first meeting at Wannsee) that mischlings would be socially and academically restricted and should be subject to sterilization. However, any mischling who looked or acted Jewish could be sent to the concentration camps at any time.
With these foundations in place, on January 20, 1942, the first Wannsee meeting commenced.
Adolf Eichmann, one of Heydrich’s subordinates, kept the minutes of the meeting and handed out 30 copies to the participants.
The only surviving copy was found in March 1947 among German Foreign Office files by American War Crimes investigators. (Jewish Virtual Library)
This one copy was discovered by Robert Kempner, a Jewish lawyer from Berlin and lead US prosecutor at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. In a twist of sweet fate during the trial, Kempner prosecuted the man who revoked his German citizenship in 1935 — Wilhelm Frick.
Because the minutes only sum up what was discussed, they do not give a completely accurate picture of what transpired. It is known, however, that the main element of the conference was Heydrich’s extended exposition of past, present, and future policies.
Those who attended the meeting represented longstanding respected government offices that predated the Nazi state, such as the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Foreign Ministry, and the Reich Chancellery.
Not one of them protested!
Kempner himself, who had held a post in the pre-1933 Prussian Justice Ministry, found it incredible that such individuals, apparently civilized men, eight of whom held doctorates, agreed with the plan.
The Protocol stands without equal as an example of the calm and orderly governance of human extermination. (Jewish Virtual Library)
Euphemisms were used to cloud the clear intent, such as Heydrich’s discussion of protocols for “new possibilities in the East.” Eleven million European Jews, which are listed by country, were included in these “possibilities.”
The use of these euphemisms has led Holocaust deniers to say that they were not talking about murder; however, during his trial, Adolf Eichmann confirmed that they were absolutely talking about the systematic destruction of the Jewish People.
“Murder and elimination and annihilation were discussed,“ he said. (Holocaust History)
For the most part, all those attending agreed about the need to find a “final solution “ for the Jewish People. The purpose of the buffet luncheon / meeting was logistics: how to round up and transport millions of Jews to gas chambers with the cooperation of political leaders where the Jewish People resided. (Holocaust Explained)
Up until this time, extermination in German-occupied territories had been mostly piecemeal with Einsatzgruppen (task force) death squads employing locals to gather the members of Jewish communities. They murdered them and then buried them in mass graves like trash.
Other Jews had been herded into mass ghettos, such as the Warsaw Ghetto and that of Lvov Poland, where they were starved in a slow, agonizing death.
Included in the logistics were those countries that were cooperating with the Nazis, such as Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Romania; Italy and France were not expected to be a problem.
Only the Nordic countries were expected to object and were to be left to the last.
Dr. Josef Buhler, Secretary and Deputy Governor to the General Government of Poland requested that the “solution “ begin in his territory since, according to Buhler, the majority of Jews there were unfit for work and carried diseases.
Buhler promised that Heydrich’s work “would have the support of the authorities of the Governor General.”
He had only one request: “that the Jewish question in this area be solved as quickly as possible.”
Apathy Fuels Anti-Semitism
“On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.” (Zechariah 12:3)
The Wannsee meeting took a big step among many previous steps to the “Final Solution” of exterminating the Jewish People.
All of those steps over time led people and nations into a mass hatred against the Jewish People and a mass silence against pure evil.
In 2017, the United Nations released a report that revealed the US, UK, and Russia knew about the atrocities in the concentration camps already in 1942, two years earlier than previously thought.
In his speech on the eve of Yom HaShoah, 2017, Isareli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said,
“Had the superpowers operated against the extermination camps in 1942 — and all that was required was a recurrent bombardment of those camps … they could have saved four million Jews and millions of additional human beings.
“The superpowers knew and did nothing about the situation.”
“Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17; see also Romans 7:7–25; Deuteronomy 22:1–4; Proverbs 3:27, 21:13; 1 John 3:16–18)
We might think the Holocaust could never happen today, but in recent decades, we have seen people, nations, and organizations taking steps to eliminate or delegitimize the Jewish State of Israel.
They do this through public declarations of extermination, rocket attacks, street violence, incitement by Muslim leaders, social media campaigns, indoctrination of hatred at early ages, and international efforts aimed at boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.
Much of this is promoted and supported on university campuses and leadership meetings around the world.
The United Nations, which helped to form the State of Israel in 1948, has issued more resolutions against this young Jewish nation than against any other country.
So, what can we do?
We can all pray for righteousness to prevail and share the Word of God so hearts can be changed from the darkness of evil intentions to the light of Godly righteousness and love toward our fellow man.
We can take leadership roles and speak truth to counter the lies.
If God-fearing, Bible-centered Christians showed up for duty in these ways, imagine what we could accomplish for the sake of righteousness!
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2)
Will you take a stand today to further God’s plan for the Jewish People and their right to live in the land that God gave them?
Please pray for the peace of Jerusalem and help us bring the message of the Prince of Peace to Israel and the nations.
“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)
(This article was last updated May 1, 2019)