Last summer, our church took a group of students in grades 5-8 to New York City on a missions trip. Fortunate enough to go with them as youth leader, I donned my camera (among other things) to help them document all of the cool things we experienced on our one-week trip. Quite often, actually, I look at the pictures from the trip and it stir an emotion felt during our experience – it was more than a “trip” with kids.. it was truly an impact. Sometimes the undocumented experiences (those with no photos) are forgotten, or moved into the deep recesses of our mind until something else stirs them.
Our trip to the Jewish Heritage Center was such an experience. Located in Battery Park in Manhattan, the Jewish Heritage Center pays homage to the millions of people who lost their lives during the Holocaust – genocide of European Jews between 1941 and 1945.
As we entered the JWC, we had to go through security system similar to airports, and were asked to store purses, phones, backpacks, etc, in a room until we were finished. Because phones and cameras were not allowed on the tour, our memories of the event are a good as our minds (oiy vey!). Our tour guide on this trip was actually the grand-daughter of a holocaust survivor who had a personal interest seeing that people visit the museum so they don’t ever forget what happened.
As it seems, there are people who are trying to erase the Holocaust from history, or try to pretend it never happened. Those who are connected with the JWC are passionate to never let the stories die, but to preserve the history so that it will never repeat.
I remember the somber atmosphere as we walked through room after room, viewing artifact after artifact, hearing story after story of how the German government fooled the people they were governing into believing they had their best interest. I remember the look on the face of our tour guide as she showed us articles of propaganda used in elections.
I wish I could remember more vividly the details, but, as a certain smell will bring to mind childhood memories of days gone by, certain pictures spark the feeling I felt in that somber museum; the disbelief that an entire nation could fall prey to the evil of its leaders, disbelief that good people could be so brainwashed as to go along with genocide of an entire population of people.
Yesterday, my dear friend posted this picture on her Facebook feed and it was like the smell that brought back the somber atmosphere of the holocaust museum
Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor. Knowing his history pits an exclamation point at the end of this quote. Diedrich Bonhoffer took a stand… against Hitler and his Nazi regime. For this stand, he would be hanged, just 21 days before Adolf Hitler committed suicide. He felt that strongly against the evil that was happening around him.
There is a war brewing, my friends. It is time to know where you stand, if not politically, at the very least, spiritually. The ultimate war is not against flesh and blood, although evil does indeed manifest itself among the people.
Pick a side. My side is in the Lord’s army. He is preparing me for battle.
Be blessed, my friends.