Genocide. It’s a term created by Raphel Lemkin, a lawyer and a Polonized Jew, someone who would have been made to learn the Polish customs, language and culture. He took genos, a Greek word meaning family, tribe or race and joined it with the Latin word cide meaning killing. Genocide describes the utter annihilation of a group or race of peoples. Within a twisted individual’s mind or within the minds of groups of people, are formed deep prejudices and hatred. Then, during certain times, as a war, they act to murder a complete race of people––to wipe them off the face of the earth. It is not something pleasant to see, speak of or hear about. These horrific atrocities against mankind are unthinkable––but they happen.
Tragically, genocide has occurred over and over again in history. One such massacre was carried out by the Ottoman Government during World War I. A recently released movie called The Promise gives attention to the Armenian Holocaust that began on April 24, 1915 and continued until, 1917. Many people simply had no knowledge that it ever happened. Numerous Armenians were converted to Christianity, but Islam was the main religion of the area. It was recorded that on one night, either April 23 or April 24, 1915 Istanbul police killed about 235 to 270 Armenian leaders and other intellectual people.
Now every April 24 has become an official Genocide Remembrance Day for the Armenians. It commemorates the day when these atrocities first began. The genocide is greatly denied by the present Turkish regime, but such genocide not only happened, it is still happening! Currently, Christians in the Middle East have been prime targets. These peaceful people are methodically beheaded, crucified and even burnt alive by ISIS––a radical Islamic terrorist group with an ideology to kill.
However the Jewish Holocaust is remembered as one of the most heinous genocides. During World War II which spanned from 1939-1945, an estimated six million European Jews were systematically murdered. Adolf Hitler––a mad man, who had an ingrained hatred of all Jews, sought the entire extinction of their race.
It is believed Hitler’s hatred of the Jews stemmed from his blame of them for creating an economic crisis that ultimately led to Germany’s defeat in World War I. Another theory was that Hitler was an illegitimate child, and his real father was thought to have been Jewish––we may never know. However Hitler did embrace the Darwinian theory of natural selection. He desired to create an elite race of humans––the Aryan master race. This meant he would seek out and exterminate the weak, mentally ill and all inferior humans––namely the Jews, whom Hitler deemed not to be considered people. Also marked for extermination were the Roma Gypsies, and other minorities.
During the holocaust, European Jews were humiliated, marked by a yellow Star of David, with the word Jew. Men, women and children were herded into railroad box cars and taken by freight train to extermination camps. On arrival, the dehumanization of prisoners began when they were stripped of anything personal. Women’s heads were shaven. In these dreaded camps, Jews they were driven to slave labor or tortured. Deception was used to usher hundreds of Jews into showers, supposedly to take precautions against a typhoid outbreak or another fabricated reason. Instead they were mercilessly gassed with hydrogen cyanide or carbon monoxide––mass murders were commonplace.
Often, the dreaded and feared SS––Schutzstaffel, enforcers of the third Reich and their radical policies, made sure these helpless victims were gassed and burned usually within one hour of arrival. After the war ended, those who endured the brutality were liberated. In remembrance, a plaque at Auschwitz––the largest and infamous death camp reads: Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity where Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women and children, mainly Jews––from various countries.
Today we know the historical facts of Hitler’s regime. The reason is that many of the survivors have given their testimonies, evidences of the atrocities exist, and, along with movies such as: Schindler’s List, The Hiding Place, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas, and more recently The Zoo Keepers Wife. All these accounts help keep the inconceivable history of what really happened alive.
Israel, who became a nation on May 14, 1948, has many enemies surrounding her borders. Israel now is a military armed nation––ready to defend herself. The Jewish people, many who have returned to their homeland, remember the past Holocaust and say to one another Zachor, the Hebrew word for “Remembrance.” It happened, it is recorded in history, and it must never be forgotten. What are the sentiments of Israel’s people today? Never again!
The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, is the Israeli memorial to each Jew murdered in the holocaust.
Future generations need to be educated about the holocaust so it is not forgotten. Why? We, along with our children must learn from the awful past and hopefully stop history from being repeated.
There are still mad men in great positions of leadership––those who would use chemical weapons against their own people, like Assad, dictator of the Syria. What about North Korean military leader and Dictator Kim Jong-un? He has also been threatening a merciless attack of nuclear war on America and other nations. We had best learn from history and defend ourselves against such evil men. If only countries seeing the rise of Hitler would have unified to stand against him in the early stage of his rise to power, there might have been a different outcome. Thank God, America has a President, Donald Trump, who is not willing to stand idly by while dictators gather more weapons and power.
Unfortunately wars and acts of genocide are not over. Why? We know, as Christians, that Bible prophecy teaches the Antichrist will come and destroy the Jews again. He will bring peace and stability to a world in financial crisis for three and half years (Daniel 9). Then, demanding to be worshipped, he will commit genocide and once again the Jewish nation will come under dire persecution. At this time, two thirds of their people will perish––slaughtered, while only one third will survive (Zechariah 13:8), Where will they flee? Petra––the city of rock will be their refuge (Matthew 24:15-22).
As we know what is ahead prophetically, Christians have a great responsibility to pray. We are living in the last days, the countdown to the Rapture of the Church, the Great Tribulation, and Christ’s Second Coming are all drawing closer––Maranatha––the Lord is coming.