prayer shawls auschwitz
Meditation and Reflection

The Prayer Shawls of Auschwitz

This is a guest post by Brother Ivo.

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Those who have visited Auschwitz are likely to find their thoughts straying back there on this day of Holocaust remembrance. A visit both underwhelms with the very ordinariness of the buildings, yet at the same time the significance overwhelms, as Auschwitz reaffirms its special place in the pit of human history.

A visit needs to be approached like a pilgrimage, with preparation, otherwise there will be a numbing of the experience, a confusion of conflicting emotions which may encompass anger, indignation, bewilderment and the deepest sadness. The reactions of others around you may mirror your own, yet they may not, and that too can be a challenge. Some seem visibly shocked, some deeply affected, some struggle, whilst others present as merely curious and that response can be a challenge as it may offends one’s own interpretation.

The Holocaust was possible because the humanity of the rejected was stripped away from them as it was, is, and always will be from the unwanted, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, wherever we are in the world.

Holocaust Memorial Day needs its universal dimension.

There, all humanity was killed in a systematic, planned way; not in anger, but simply because that is what the state said needed to be done, and someone had to do it.

It has to be universal, but it also has to be rooted in places like Auschwitz, which shows how genocide moves beyond the personal killing of Abel by Cain. Here it is shown in all its bureaucratic, banal evil. Hair is cropped and piled here, children’s shoes collected and dumped over there.

When I visited, I realised that I would need to take a Bible and that I should find a suitable quiet place to read it. I decided on Psalm 88 and Psalm 10. I invite you to read them. You will find there the anguish of those who wore the prayer shawls captured in verse after verse.

Psalm 88
O LORD God of my salvation,
have cried day and night before thee:
let my prayer come before thee:
incline thine ear unto my cry;
for my soul is full of troubles:
and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
I am counted with them that go down into the pit:
I am as a man that hath no strength:
free among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
whom thou rememberest no more:
and they are cut off from thy hand.
Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit,
in darkness, in the deeps.
Thy wrath lieth hard upon me,
and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves.

Psalm 10
Why standest thou afar off, O LORD?
Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor:
let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire,
and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance,
will not seek after God:
God is not in all his thoughts.
His ways are always grievous;
thy judgments are far above out of his sight:
as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved:
for I shall never be in adversity.

These Psalms surely must have been prayed under those shawls.

Psalm 88 is particularly striking because of its steadfast refusal to find any cause for optimism. “Life is grim,” says the Psalmist. “I know it is grim, God – you know it is grim.”

‘Let’s not kid each other’ is the subtext.

It concludes with no verse of praise, no expectation of redemption, no hope. This is why I think Psalm 88 must have been the Psalm for Auschwitz. The evil was so evil that it takes mortal man beyond hope.

Yet surprisingly Psalm 10 begins to recover from the blow. It ends:

O LORD thou wilt hear the desire of the meek
thou wilt strengthen their heart thou wilt incline thine ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

I chose to read these psalms before I went, and I found the place to contemplate their meaning as I stood before those prayer shawls displayed as if on a gibbet in a cabinet. Surely these psalms expressed the prayers of those who suffered and prayed under them.

Many who are separated from the scriptures by the modern world may be shocked by their candour, directness, and anger. God is no stranger to the outrage of those who suffer. Two things are striking: Psalm 88 is in the same spirit as those who urged Job to ‘Curse God and die’. Psalm 10, which retains hope, pre-figures the ‘Song of Mary’ – The Magnificat.

Contrast:

Let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined
For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire

with:

He has scattered the Proud
in the imagination of their hearts.

And so God did.

So He did.

The underlying sin of Auschwitz and the genocidal killer is that of Adam himself – Pride. The proud have supplanted the judgment of God with the judgment of themselves. They take to themselves the right to judge and the power of life and death itself, and when Man does that, it leads to places like Auschwitz.

It does not last. If the world hates His people, it hated Him first and God is not mocked for long.

Auschwitz also teaches that early in its story the Atheist Nazi State consigned to the camp the leaders of Polish Church lest it speak its truths, hold its peoples to hope, and challenge the inhumanity of what was to come, and the pride that underpinned it.

As God sent His son, so it sent His Church.

Amongst those was Maximillian Kolbe, ‘The Saint of Auschwitz’, who lit a feint light in the darkness by laying down his life in place of another man. His story is worth reading today. It is one of sacrifice and the triumph of faith and hope.

Yet there is another lesson and paradox to be found at Auschwitz today. It is full of living Jews: young Jews, confident Jews, handsome young men and beautiful young girls, tanned and healthy carrying their national flag. They, too, are on a pilgrimage and have prepared themselves for it.

They represent the refusal to allow the triumph of those who hated them then and who hate them today. Their presence demonstrates the power of hope in all places of despair: the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

God will not have it any other way. As the Jewish singer-poet Leonard Cohen has written: “There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.”

It is true about our fractured humanity, our brittle pride, and our broken hearts.

Before the Prayer Shawls of Auschwitz, it is possible to doubt and to cry out: “How can this happen? How can this be redeemed?”

With His living Church and His Chosen People, the answer comes back on this and every other day: because with God, all things are possible.

  • Albert

    Thank you for a very thoughtful piece.

    Another saint of Auschwitz is St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. As for the psalms, I’m reminded the great Viktor Frankl, when he arrived at Auschwitz, had his own clothes removed from him, and received the clothing of someone who had gone to the gas chambers. Inside the coat, he found the words of the Shema:

    Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

    Frankl said that in the camps the levels of religiosity were incredibly high – so high that they shocked new-comers.

    • Findaráto

      Is it really shocking that concentration camp prisoners should turn to religion as a means of fleeing from the harsh reality of life and death surrounding them?

      Believing that something better awaits you takes some of the sting out of present suffering. It provides a reason to believe, as countless converts to Christianity will tell you when you ask them what turned them to religion.

      Deathbed conversions are common enough. If you know you’re likely to die soon, Pascal’s wager takes on an immediacy that it may lack when death is only a remote and distant prospect.

      I wonder how many Auschwitz prisoners were motivated by genuine belief. A panicked covering of all bases seems like a more plausible motivation for religious fervour in those appalling circumstances.

      Deathbed conversions ring hollow in my ears because of personal experience. The only time I was ever tempted to believe in God was the 5 minutes I spent dangling on the end of a rope when a piton came loose halfway up an alpine precipice. The thought lasted about 10 seconds until it was dismissed as a craven hedging of bets unworthy of an honest intellect.

      Panic makes you do all sorts of weird and uncharacteristic things, so I don’t see religious fervour in an extermination camp as proving anything except that Man is afraid of death. And isn’t that self-evident? We have no idea of what, if anything, lies on the other side of that moment, and ignorance is scary. Religions attempt to provide us with confidence that there will be something, so grasping at religion like a straw is understandable in moments of panic or despair. But are such miraculous conversions real? I suppose we’ll never know. But they don’t seem real to me.

      • carl jacobs

        Hrmmmmm…

        • Hmmm indeed.

          • Pubcrawler

            So soon?

          • The Explorer

            Maybe. Certain posts, especially by guests, attract one-off contributors. We’ll see.

          • Has our “International Man of Mystery” returned sporting a Tolkien name meaning “golden-haired champion”?

          • Pubcrawler

            A character who was restored to life, no less.

          • chiefofsinners

            He will regret choosing a name that begins Find a rat.

          • Very good. Jack didn’t notice until you pointed it out above.

          • Not one for deferring gratification and he needs his daily attack on faith in God.

          • Pubcrawler

            And it is after all the third day since ‘Bob’ was killed off. Hmmm….

          • Double Hmmm ….

        • Findaráto

          Unhappy with my contribution? Apologies if I have offended anyone. It was unintentionally done.

          • carl jacobs

            No, I was not offended. I was simply pondering what you said. You are new here. This is a pretty wide open site in terms of worldview. All that is really required is mutual respect.

            If you are Linus VII, we’ll figure you out. If you aren’t, then you have nothing to worry about. Welcome to Cranmer’s. You have allies here, and you seem to have the knowledge to contribute to the weblog.

          • Find a rat o …. by any chance have you posted on this weblog before using a number of different names?

          • Findaráto

            Charming!

            Don’t you like my name?

            Oh well, never mind. You can’t please everyone.

            What makes you think I have posted here before? Surely you don’t get that many agnostics/atheists on this blog.

          • Please answer the question.

          • Lienus

            Bonsoire mon ami.
            We seem to share similar views. I have been having a ding-dong with some of the more unreasonable chaps on this blog, who say the French word ‘pissoire’ is spelt without the ‘e’. What say you?
            Perhaps we could meet up for a little je ne sais quoi?

      • Après-midi ….

        • Findaráto

          Not following you…?

          • No of course you aren’t.

          • Anton

            Please can we all write such that if this chap is not who some suspect he is then nobody has done him an injustice?

          • He’ll survive the experience.

          • Anton

            That isn’t how Christians should view non-Christians who approach them.

          • We’ll make an exception in this case.

          • Anton

            I won’t.

          • No, you direct your prejudice towards the Catholic Church and the Papacy.

          • Anton

            It is true that I present facts which are often not favourable to the papacy, but had it behaved better then those facts would not be available for presentation.

          • “Facts” – yeah, that’ll be right.

          • Anton

            I’ll be replying to your specific comments on this thread about Pius XII and the Nazi persecution of the Roman Catholic church in Poland during 1939-42 and I invite you to refute what I post.

          • No thanks Anton. Jack has better things to do with his time.

          • Cressida de Nova

            LOL

      • Hi

        I think Albert was referring to the religiosity of Jews , not Jews having conversions to Christianity? The orthodox communities in Europe were devastated and destroyed , because they didn’t try to flee or escape , so were easy targets for the Nazis and their local allies to take.

        • Findaráto

          Yes, I did understand what he meant. I wasn’t referring to Jews converting to Christianity, but rather “finding God” in extremis when their lives up to that point might well have been lived without religion playing a major part.

          Many victims of the Holocaust were only ethnically Jewish. Primo Levi’s account of how the experience of the camps formed his non-religious Jewish identity is a case in point.

          • Hi

            You should also add the “trial of God” to your reading, the author who’d survived the camps and said the play was based on 3 Rabbis he’d seem in the camp putting God on trial and finding him guilty, after which they prayed. Here’s a quote from the author:

            “For a Jew to believe in God is good. For a Jew to protest against God is still good. But simply to ignore God–that is not good. Anger, yes. Protest, yes. Affirmation, yes. But indifference? No. You can be a Jew with God. You can be a Jew against God. But not without God.”
            Elie Wiesel.

          • Findaráto

            I read “The Trial of God” many years ago and found it fascinating. I agreed with the guilty verdict, but failed to understand the point of continuing to worship a malevolent God.

            If you’re going to hell anyway (or in the case of concentration camp prisoners, if you’re basically already in hell), will your punishment be any the worse if you don’t worship the God who knowingly created those who made the choices that put you there?

            I don’t see the difference between that and Satan worship.

          • Hi

            It’s interesting that you’ve tried in vain to trash religious Judaism in this thread and now we have worshipping God is the same as idolatry!However you will have the benefit of the doubt that you don’t know jack about Judaism.

            Those who died in the shoah were kedoshim. There is no doubt in my mind that any of those murdered are not in Gan Eden (the Jewish word for heaven).

            In Judaism, whilst there’s no set dogma about the afterlife, but this is my orthodox understanding: it is said that the righteous of all nations have a portion of the world to come. This is why we do not seek to convert people, although anyone who wants to can do so . Therefore to Jewish eyes it is not what you believe , or whether you are a Jew, but what you do that is important.

            There is also Gehinnom, which some see as a place like hell, but others say is a place of spiritual cleansing and reflection before one goes to Gan Eden. In respect of justice, the most wicked and evil are utterly destroyed do not enter Gan Eden.

          • Findaráto

            I’m happy enough to admit that I know very little about Judaism. Thank you for the explanation.

            I don’t think I “trashed” Judaism. I merely stated why I don’t find in extremis religious fervour particularly convincing.

            I have no idea where those who died in the Shoah are now. Are they anywhere? You can believe they went to Gan Eden if you like, but you won’t get me to believe it if you can’t show me any convincing evidence to support such a belief.

            But then you probably don’t care what I believe, which is fine by me. I think I prefer the relaxed Jewish attitude to other people’s beliefs. It’s certainly much more respectful than evangelizing Christian zeal.

      • The Explorer

        An honest and interesting post, with several powerful points. Two queries occur to me.

        1. ” We have no idea of what, if anything, lies on the other side of that moment.” If Christ rose from the dead (and if He didn’t, Christianity is pointless) then that is an overstatement. We know what Christ said on the matter, and what He revealed to St Paul and St John. If Christ did not rise from the dead, and there is no divine revelation, then your statement is valid.
        2. Some Christians, like Corrie ten Boom, were sent to concentration camps for acting on their beliefs (in her case, hiding Jews).. Jews could not avoid being ethnic Jews (their ethnicity rather than their religion being the issue), but Christians could have saved themselves by abandoning their beliefs. By not doing so, their beliefs made their deaths more likely.

        • It was a pride filled dismissal of the reality of a belief in God. Religious fervour and conversion is simply dismissed as the panicked response of fearful men facing death and the hedging of dishonest intellects.

          • The Explorer

            Well, yes but the implicit syllogism had a certain elegance worthy of acknowledgement.
            God does not exist.
            Religious conversion happens most at times of crisis.
            Therefore, religious conversion is an illusion driven by fear.
            It’s the sort of argument against religion that Bertrand Russell used to make all the time.

          • It’s the suggestion that only atheists have honest intellects when in actual fact they deny logic and reason, that is arrogant and full of pride. Atheists are brave little soldiers facing the reality of life whereas people of faith create a fantasy to shield themselves from it.

        • Findaráto

          1. Yes, that does seem to be the crucial issue. I do not find the biblical accounts of the Resurrection of Christ convincing at all. It’s easy to write stories about someone rising from the dead. It’s less easy to prove it actually happened. There’s no physical evidence like relics from before and after the Resurrection that could verify the presence of the same man’s DNA. There are no eyewitness accounts from independent sources corroborating the biblical version of events. We have no medical records confirming that death did indeed take place … no evidence that necrosis had set in, for example. It just doesn’t add up.

          2. Christians aren’t the only ones to die for their faith. Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and most other faiths all have their martyrs. Even some Atheists are willing to die for their principles.

          • The Explorer

            1. Did the Romans bother about medical records for those they crucified? The necrosis point is a good one, and certainly an issue with the raising of Lazarus. “But, Sir, it’ll smell.” The spices, of course, would have delayed bodily decay. And the Resurrection is a reversal of everything associated with death.

            2, Perfectly true. My point wasn’t that only Christians die for their faith. My point was that if one fears dying then it is strange to espouse a religion that makes dying more likely.

      • dannybhoy

        “Believing that something better awaits you takes some of the sting out of present suffering.”
        “Panic makes you do all sorts of weird and uncharacteristic things, so I don’t see religious fervour in an extermination camp as proving anything except that Man is afraid of death.”

        In my opinion you fail to recognise the deep sense of ‘set apartness’ that the Jew feels in His calling as part of the Lord’s covenant people. It is far deeper than most of us can comprehend.
        That not all feel is this is obvious, and few would want to die so degraded and dehumanised as that deliberately planned by the Nazis. These were not terminally ill people, they had no crimes to atone for; only that they were Jews…

        • Findaráto

          I’m not sure that “set apartness” makes any difference to how you react to imminent death.

          My brush with mortality wasn’t due to a terminal illness either. I had no crimes to atone for. It was just the luck of the draw that the bit of mountain in which that particular piton had been lodged was weaker than expected. A Jewish climber could have had exactly the same experience. Would he have reacted differently to me? Some Jews are agnostic too, you know.

          • dannybhoy

            I think you’ll find I covered that here..

            “That not all feel is this is obvious, and few, whether devout or unbelieving would want to die so degraded and dehumanised a death as that deliberately planned by the Nazis.”

            Besides we are not talking about
            “accidents I have experienced and reflected on..”
            we’re talking about a plan of deliberate wickedness.

          • Findaráto

            But if there is a God and he has a plan, then surely there’s no such thing as an accident.

            If that piton was was designed to come adrift and give me the fright of my life, what was its purpose? To make a convert of me? If so, it didn’t work, and if God is omniscient, he must have known it wouldn’t. So why did he do it? For the fun of it?

            If we’re made in the image of God, perhaps that explains why small boys take so much pleasure in pulling the wings off defenceless insects. Does God see me as something offensive to be toyed with and then crushed? Is that what you call “benevolence”?

          • dannybhoy

            “But if there is a God and he has a plan, then surely there’s no such thing as an accident.”

            1) If as I believe, the Scriptures teach that man was created a sentient being with free will, then your question is better framed,
            “How does God reconcile His ultimate plan for this world with the decisions we creatures make as beings with free will?”
            2) We live in an inhabitable but inherently unstable world, where natural processes can threaten human life. Where our decisions can influence/threaten the wellbeing or unhappiness of other people and animals and our environment. So your piton was flawed not by design, but by human fallibility.If you have made your peace and given your life to God, then whatever happens to you, you can be confident that God will be there with you, and will do what is best for you and for His purposes.

            3) “If we’re made in the image of God, perhaps that explains why small boys take so much pleasure in pulling the wings off defenceless insects.”
            I did similar things as a kid involving a magnifying glass… :0(
            I think there’s two influences at work here. One is that as children we explore the world around us. Boys do these kinds of things, (- I don’t know what girls do!), and most grow out of it.
            Children who have been emotionally/physically abused may learn to inflict pain or suffering on others. My wife and I have worked with children from these backgrounds.
            That’s nothing to do with God and much more to do with our world and the (fallen) nature of man.

          • Findaráto

            But where does divine responsibility end?

            If God made us, he made us capable of falling. So once we had fallen, whose ultimate responsibility was it?

            Free will and divine omniscience are mutually exclusive concepts. If God knows every choice we’ll make, then when he creates us, he already knows what we’ll choose to do, so many of us are created by him with in the full knowledge that we’ll be tortured eternally.

            If you and your wife knew that a child you were planning would live a life of tortured suffering, would you have it? If it were already on the way, as Christians you probably wouldn’t feel you could abort it. So it would have to be born and suffer in order to appease your belief in the sanctity of life. But if it were not yet conceived? For example, in cases where both parents carry a recessive gene for a painful and debilitating condition that will become dominant in their offspring. If they know their children will suffer, is it responsible, caring and, most importantly of all “beneficent” to have them?

            It seems to me that God can care little or nothing for us. At least not for those of us he creates knowing we’ll be damned. He might not directly affect our choices (although apparently he hardened Pharoah’s heart, so what happened to free will in that overt and unashamed piece of divine manipulation?), but he still creates us knowing what our choices will be, and knowing that many of us will be damned as a result.

          • dannybhoy

            “But where does divine responsibility end?”
            Divine responsibility for man you mean?
            Well God provided the (only) solution to man’s problem, by becoming a man who would live a perfect life and allow Himself to be crucified so that we might be forgiven for our own sins, and might experience the indwelling power if the Holy Spirit changing us from within, be enabled to serve God in this world, and have eternal life.
            So that’s pretty responsible of Him, wouldn’t you say?
            he already knows what we’ll choose to do, so many of us are created by him with in the full knowledge that we’ll be tortured eternally.”
            God loves each one of us but He won’t force us to accept His offer of salvation. Neither will He force us into Heaven if we choose to reject Him. I don’t know about the tortured bit, I rather suspect we will torture ourselves.

            “If you and your wife knew that a child you were planning would live a life of tortured suffering, would you have it?”
            You mean a seriously handicapped child? If we knew for sure the child would be in pain, would not be able to relate to the world, then (my wife says) she would have an abortion. But I have worked with seriously genetically handicapped children, and we have fostered a few. As a general principle though we are against abortion.

            I don’t know how God works foreknowledge and free will, but I 100% believe I have free will, else how can I be held responsible?
            The emphasis of the Bible is on God’s compassion, not His judgement.
            Please consider how many people’s lives have been changed through the Gospel, how hate has been turned to love, and people delivered from addictions and bad habits.
            Who have been delivered from despair to hope, and so on.
            That’s what God wants to do for u, but we have to bow the knee to His Lordship and open our heart to Him.

          • Findaráto

            How many people’s lives have been changed through the Gospel? I have no idea. I know there are a lot who claim to be changed, and then end up in all sorts of compromising situations. Ever heard of Ted Haggard?

            Self-reporting is a notoriously unreliable method of data collection. People lie. They can also be genuinely mistaken or even deluded. And how do you define outcomes? Kicking a drug habit is great, but does it last? And why does God get the credit for the miracle, but when or if the addict succumbs again, it’s all his fault?

            And as for your main premise about God providing a solution to Man’s problem in the form of Christ, once again it all hangs on the Resurrection actually having taken place. So where’s your proof that it did? There’s no need for me to provide any proof that it did, because skepticism is the correct response to any unproven theory. Only evidence can prove a skeptic wrong, and I’m happy to be proved so provided the evidence is clear and convincing.

          • This has also been covered with you Linus. The proof for God existence is first and foremost a philosophical, reasoned demonstration. There is more than one. It’s called logic. Surely you remember?

          • dannybhoy

            I know there are a lot who claim to be changed, and then end up in all sorts of compromising situations. Ever heard of Ted Haggard?

            Quite correct my friend. Jesus said “By their fruits shall you know them.” and He told the parable of the sower, the wheat and the tares, and the fruitless fig tree.

            I would add that Christian growth often depends on the person’s background. A person from an integrated, happy family will be further down the road than a person from a broken or dysfunctional one.
            A young person who was on drugs or into petty crime will have much further to grow in his/her understanding of what it means to be a Christian. As St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3>
            “3 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?”

            And as for your main premise about God providing a solution to Man’s problem in the form of Christ, once again it all hangs on the Resurrection actually having taken place.

            Also true, and many people had to think that one through before they made the step of faith and commitment. There are plenty of books on apologetics and the testimonies of intelligent professional people who became Christians.
            But I would add that becoming a Christian is not simply a “lifestyle choice.”
            It is something that happens when we are deeply seriously considering the meaning of life and the possibility that there really is a God, and that Jesus Christ really is who the Bible says He is. Perhaps most importantly, that this God wants to adopt you into His family, as per the parable of the Prodigal Son..
            I can still remember my own experience of conversion all those years ago, and that as I prayed, the presence of God was so real in that room. The very first tangible evidence of inner change was my addiction to smoking was broken; and then I began to be aware of how sarcastic I was!

          • Findaráto

            “…the presence of God was so real in the room.”

            If something is real, it is tangible. And what is tangible is detectable and measurable.

            You might object that emotions are real but intangible, however this is not so. Emotions can be detected and analysed in terms of the physical response they unleash in the body. So it should be possible to detect and measure the surge of religious feeling you describe. But how do you detect and measure the presence of God?

            Is there such a thing as a God-ometer that lights up or rings a bell when God is in the room? What sets it off? What exactly is it detecting? God-oplasm? Theo-essence? Deo-radiation?

            Perhaps such a device might be more properly called a hallucinometer. Or a deludograph.

          • dannybhoy

            You might object that emotions are real but intangible, however this is not so.
            But I don’t object.
            Emotions can be detected and analysed in terms of the physical response they unleash in the body. So it should be possible to detect and measure the surge of religious feeling you describe.
            See the links below..

            But how do you detect and measure the presence of God?
            Why would I want to? At the time I was engaged in a life changing encounter with God, not a scientific experiment.
            I have no doubt that what we focus on will effect specific parts of the brain and has been measured. But what does this prove?
            Recently in a separate conversation Dreadnaught (an atheist), said that he feels good when he does good things, and his conscience bothers him when he does or says bad things. I said that I believe that is the way God has designed us.
            So I am quite prepared to accept that the times when I feel the presence of God -usually during worship- it’s going on in my brain. But so what? I also believe that God can and does intervene in the physical world, as in miracles.

            http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104310443

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/religious-experiences-shrink-part-of-brain/

            http://www.christiantoday.com/article/god.in.the.brain.and.other.misunderstandings.of.scientists/38393.htm

          • You still in the vicinity of Juziers, Ilse-de France?

          • Albert

            If something is real, it is tangible. And what is tangible is detectable and measurable.

            Really? How do you know? It seems to me that you are just assuming physicalism is true. But if the question is of whether God exists, then assuming physicalism is true and dismissing any evidence that denies physicalism is simply begging the question and arguing in a circle.

          • Findaráto

            I have never seen any evidence that God exists.

            You can argue that I may be dismissing valid evidence, but then we get into a pointless argument about what is objectively valid. Just because you accept something as valid doesn’t mean it is. And just because I reject it doesn’t mean it’s objectively invalid. We each have our own subjective viewpoint about what’s objectively true. And I think mine is better than yours.

            Objectively valid information can only be determined by using our physical senses and then by analyzing and comparing the data they give us in order to verify its reliability.

            The senses I know about are sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. I’m aware of no sense that tells me anything about any kind of spiritual dimension. I’ve certainly never felt anything that could be described as a spiritual feeling. I’ve never met God. I’ve never seen a ghost. I’ve never played with pixies at the bottom of the garden. The “numinous”, if it exists at all, just doesn’t communicate itself to me.

            So if there is such a thing as spirit, I don’t seem to be able to detect it. Am I the spiritual equivalent of a blind man? Or is it just that spirits only exist in the minds of the people who believe in them? If the former, then just as a blind man has no use for light, what possible use could I have for God? It looks very much as though, if he’s there, he created me without the power to detect him because if I can, then why can’t I? I have eyes so I can see. I have ears so I can hear. If I have whatever organ or locus of spiritual power that’s needed to detect God, why isn’t it working?

            Of course one explanation might be that I’m one of those p-zombies that Dualists love to talk about. I might look like a man, and walk and talk like a man, but I may have no soul and therefore no need for God. If I am just a sophisticated automaton then perhaps my purpose is to act out a series of predetermined tasks designed to challenge and test those elect individuals who can detect God. When I die, one assumes that oblivion will be my fate, because if I have no soul, I can’t be saved or damned, can I?

            This is not an unappealing prospect. Oblivion sounds like a much more attractive deal than spending eternity with a jealous, overbearing, homophobic, misogynistic and generally all-round bad-tempered git of a God. It’s the fate I think we’re probably all heading for anyway, so if I’m wrong and it’s just me, I don’t lose anything. If I no longer exist, I can’t be jealous of those who go to paradise, can I?

            I’m not convinced though. It’s all just too far-fetched to make logical sense. Experience has taught me that the simplest explanation is usually the right one, and I’ve also observed that human beings can be pretty crazy. So it seems to me that spirits don’t exist and that those who claim to be able to commune with them are either making it up or deluding themselves.

            Of course if you can show me some evidence that spirits really do exist, I’ll be forced to reconsider my position. But it will have to be evidence that convinces me, so just banging on about how there really is a God won’t, I’m afraid, do the trick. Neither will pointing to the Bible, or the lives of the Saints, or anything that relies on accepting someone’s word that miracles really do happen. I’m not moved by hearsay. I want concrete evidence.

            So what would convince me? That’s easy! How about a little show of transmogrification? Show me, for example, a Christian who can, through prayer or invocation, turn lead into gold under controlled laboratory conditions (properly witnessed and documented) and then I will have to admit that there’s something to this idea of spirit. Why? Because any purely physical transformation of substance involves the breaking and reforming of atomic bonds, which releases an awful lot of energy in the form of radiation and heat. So I couldn’t witness the transmogrification of lead into gold via purely physical processes without being vaporized on the spot. If I saw someone turn lead into gold by simply muttering a few words over it, and I survived to tell the tale, then I would have hard evidence of some other force that couldn’t be physical in nature.

            If such a mysterious force could be demonstrated to me, what else could I call it but spooks? Worse than that, it would have to be a super-spook. A regular God. Power that could reorganize matter whilst containing and controlling the energy that binds it would have no meaningful limits. It would also have to be omniscient and intelligent in order to perform such a complex task. Altogether it would have to be what Christians call God.

            So if a Christian could invoke this power and turn a lump of lead into gold through prayer, what choice would I have but to take that as overwhelming evidence of the existence of God? Or at least A God. We could extend the experiment a little further by putting a representative of each religion in a room with a lump of lead and seeing which of them, if any, could produce gold. If none succeeded, it might be that God just didn’t want to play that day. But if one did … well, you’d see me in his house of worship the next day. If it was a church, there I would be praising de Lawd with the best of them. Spiritual power thus demonstrated would make a convert of me. And all it would take would be a simple (for God) show of cold transmogrification.

            So what’s he waiting for? It’s almost as if he isn’t there…

          • Albert

            You said, If something is real, it is tangible. And what is tangible is detectable and measurable.
            And I replied:

            Really? How do you know? It seems to me that you are just assuming physicalism is true.

            Now admittedly, I haven’t read your reply in any detail (it’s extremely long) but I couldn’t see the bit that was relevant to the question I asked. The question is not “How do you know if something is real?” the question is “Is it true that if something is real it is tangible and detectable?” And I cannot see that in all this long post you have begun to address that question. You’ve addressed the former question. In other words, as you did somewhere else, you simply changed the subject rather than address the issue. Why is that?

            Concerning my faith, you have however said a lot of things that I just don’t recognize (except for the usual secularist’s scorn, which is very familiar). It’s odd that you have so many and so firmly held opinions on matters of religion, when you said before I was raised in a secular family and religious faith is something I have no experience, nor understanding of.

            If you want irreligion to sound rational and justified, don’t you need to show yourself to be a bit more informed?

          • Findaráto

            If you haven’t read my reply in detail then there’s no point in continuing with this discussion. Why would I do you the honour of replying in detail when you won’t do me the honour of taking what I say seriously enough to read it properly?

          • Albert

            I asked a very simple question. It’s clear that your post didn’t begin to answer that, and then it went into other areas, got into claims about the God I have faith in that aren’t true and so on. It was very long. Why, when I can see at a glance that you have changed the subject and poured scorn on my faith, would I read it more carefully? What you convey to me is that you don’t want to know.

          • Findaráto

            If that is what you believe, there is no reason for us to continue this discussion.

            As usual, religionists preach, and when they don’t convince, they condemn.

            That’s my experience of religion and the religious.

          • Albert

            Well look at this from my point of view. Twice now you have made claims which, when I asked for a defence, you changed the subject; only this time, you added ill-informed knocks against the religion you were failing to respond to by argument.

            That’s my experience of secularists and secularism: make claims which are unjustified, fail to defend them, change the subject and (lacing a reply with misrepresentation) and still claim the higher intellectual ground. How does that work?

            If that is what you believe, there is no reason for us to continue this discussion.

            Well go on then, where in your post did you answer the question How do you know that what is real is tangible, detectable and measurable? I’m sorry if I missed it, I was too busy noticing the offensive misrepresentations.

            It seems to me that you changed the subject to express your view that there is no evidence for God. Well obviously if you being with the presumption that what is real is tangible God doesn’t exist. That’s why I asked you to defend the proposition, that what is real is tangible. If you can’t defend that, you cannot proceed with any argument intellectually.

          • Findaráto

            The dictionary definition of real is “existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious:”

            Tangible means “capable of being touched”.

            If I can touch something, I know it exists. I know it is actual rather than imaginary, ideal or fictitious. I know it is real.

            In the broader sense, “tangible” means anything we can sense rather than just touch. I can’t touch radio waves. But I can manipulate the physical world around me in order to detect their presence, and I can confirm that presence by getting them to transmit information for me. What can be detected is tangible and therefore factual and real.

            God is not tangible. I cannot touch him or detect him in any way. I cannot manipulate the physical world around me to build a God detector that will reveal his presence. I have no real or factual information about his existence at all. I therefore have no justification for saying he exists.

            Those who believe that God does exist have nothing tangible to base their belief on. They have never seen, touched or talked to God. He exists only as an ideal in their minds, influenced by a story written down a few thousand years ago. The physical manuscript of the story is tangible enough, or at least the later copies and amended editions of it that still exist today are, but the story it tells is not. The events it recounts are borne out by no other documentary or archaeological evidence. They stand as an isolated and unsupported series of claims that make no sense when applied to the real, tangible world we know. In the absence of all corroborating evidence, it can only be dismissed as fiction.

            My position is that if you have no evidence, you have no case. Simple really.

          • Albert

            My position is that if you have no evidence, you have no case. Simple really.

            Let’s see how this stands up to rational scrutiny:

            The dictionary definition of real is “existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious:”

            Tangible means “capable of being touched”.

            Nothing yet follows from this about God.

            If I can touch something, I know it exists. I know it is actual rather than imaginary, ideal or fictitious. I know it is real.

            Again, I have nothing to argue with here, but you are not defending the point you made and God’s existence is untouched.

            In the broader sense, “tangible” means anything we can sense rather than just touch. I can’t touch radio waves. But I can manipulate the physical world around me in order to detect their presence, and I can confirm that presence by getting them to transmit information for me. What can be detected is tangible and therefore factual and real.

            This undoubtedly true. But you will commit the fallacy of affirming the consequent if you draw a conclusion about God from that. You will commit the same fallacy if you draw from that, the position you defended before. So your position remains undefended.

            God is not tangible. I cannot touch him or detect him in any way. I cannot manipulate the physical world around me to build a God detector that will reveal his presence. I have no real or factual information about his existence at all. I therefore have no justification for saying he exists.

            Yes, perhaps at this moment you have no justification, but again that does not support your assertion about things needing to be tangible in order to be real. So your position remains unjustified.

            Those who believe that God does exist have nothing tangible to base their belief on.

            Yes, but until you defend your position that something needs to be tangible in order to be real, the lack of tangibility tells us nothing either way about the realness of God. So your position remains unjustified.

            They have never seen, touched or talked to God. He exists only as an ideal in their minds, influenced by a story written down a few thousand years ago.

            But that’s what’s so puzzling about your position. Dannybhoy did claim to have touched God (or at least to have been touched by God). And you dismissed this because, as you put it:

            If something is real, it is tangible. And what is tangible is detectable and measurable.

            So your position is, as I said, at the beginning, begs the question. You might be entirely rational to deny Dannybhoy’s evidence, but you cannot rationally do so on those terms, until you show the truth of your claim, and this you haven’t done. So your position remains unjustified.

            And here’s a further irony: you think that it is only rational to accept something for which you have tangible evidence, and yet you are able to show no tangible evidence that it is only rational to accept something for which you have tangible evidence. And so your argument against dannybhoy’s evidence, and against God in general, dissolves in its own acid. Or to put it another way, it is a little hard for you to critique us for not following your self-refuting principle which you don’t accept yourself. And I’m sorry to say, this is what most conversations with atheists look like: a combination of logical fallacies and self-refuting principles which atheists themselves don’t keep. Logical Positivism was rejected by the Logical Positivists themselves ultimately as being self-refutingly incoherent and yet atheists spend their time arguing as if that hadn’t happened. Dogmatism is what is in control, and is psychology that supplies the dogmatism, not reason.

            But there are further problems:

            The physical manuscript of the story is tangible enough, or at least the later copies and amended editions of it that still exist today are, but the story it tells is not.

            We have better textual evidence by far for the NT than we have for the Greeks. So your argument here, if held consistently, would tell against anything we have from the ancient world. Do you allow it to do so with the same consistency?

            The events it recounts are borne out by no other documentary or archaeological evidence.

            That’s just factually false – if you’re so keen on evidence, why don’t you check your beliefs before you hold them?

            They stand as an isolated and unsupported series of claims

            Untrue.

            that make no sense when applied to the real, tangible world we know.

            An undefended assertion.

            In the absence of all corroborating evidence, it can only be dismissed as fiction.

            A non sequitur even if the premise were true (which it isn’t).

            My position is that if you have no evidence, you have no case.

            And if I apply that principle to your case…? You haven’t begun to defend the position, by which you first critiqued Dannybhoy.

          • Linus, Linus, Linus we’ve been over all this before.

            God offers each and everyone of us sufficient grace to believe in Him, to follow Him and to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. He is not a dictator and grants us free will to love Him or reject Him. Don’t set up the straw man of Calvinism and double predestination which removes choice and free will.

            Here’s the position Jack favours:

            The William G. Most “Solution”

            The solution: There is no time in God, but one thing may be logically before another. There are three logical points in His decisions on predestination:

            1) God wills all men to be saved. This is explicit in 1 Tim 2:4, and since to love is to will good to another for the other’s sake, this is the same as saying God loves us. To deny that, as Banez did is a horrendous error, it denies the love of God. How strong this love is can be seen by the obstacle it overcame in the work of opening eternal happiness to us: the death of Christ on the cross.

            2) God looks to see who resists His grace gravely and persistently, so persistently that the person throws away the only thing that could save him. With regrets, God decrees to let such persons go: reprobation because of and in view of grave and persistent resistance to grace.

            3) All others not discarded in step two are positively predestined, but not because of merits, which are not at all in view yet, nor even because of the lack of such resistance, but because in step 1, God wanted to predestine them, and they are not stopping Him. This is predestination without merits.

            This can also be seen from the Father analogy of the Gospels. In even an ordinarily good family: 1) the parents want all the children to turn out well. 2) No child feels he/she needs to help around the house etc. to earn love and care. The children get that because the parents are good, not because they, the children are good. 3) Yet the children know that if they are bad they can earn punishment, and if bad enough long enough, could be thrown out and lose their inheritance.

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2006/04/molinism-middle-knowledge.html

          • It’s a mystery, isn’t it? God is omnipotent and yet He permits evil.

            God permits some men and women to be same sex attracted, in direct contravention of His Will for the natural act of sexual intercourse exclusive to male and female. Now why would He allow such a thing? He then expects them to carry this cross and remain celibate throughout their life. How unfair is that?

          • Findaráto

            As I understand it, the word “mystery” when used by a Christian basically means “here’s a contradiction that I cannot explain, so I’m going to close my eyes to it and say that no matter how unjust it might appear to be, it must be right because it’s ordained by God, and as God is perfect and we are not, it must be us who are incapable of understanding why it’s right”.

            Now to me that seems like rather a monumental cop out. It can be used to justify just about any kind of injustice. Just call it a “mystery” and then sweep it, and the people it affects, under the carpet. And it’s all the more unjust because it depends solely upon an arbitrary interpretation of biblical texts by men who admit their own fallibility! So when the church condemns gays to a lifetime of solitude and celibacy, it’s basically saying “we, who are just as fallible and mortal as you, have decided this is what God wants from you, although we can’t offer you any explanation that makes any logical sense, so you’re just going to have to treat it as a ‘mystery’ and obey anyway”.

            That’s not what I call faith, but rather blind faith.

          • No there is an answer, Linus. We’ve been over this ground on countless occasions. The world and the natural creation is flawed as a result of human rebellion. God granted man free will and he opted to reject God’s law and there were consequences. This is an answer you just don’t want to acknowledge or accept. In condemning same sex acts as an affront to God, the Church makes use of scriptural revelation and also Natural Law and reason.

          • Lienus

            No, a mystery in scripture is something previously not understood but now revealed. As in “Behold I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep…”

      • Albert

        One of the problems atheists and agnostics sometimes have is in understanding why people have faith. Since atheists and agnostics often don’t understand it, they try to understand it on their own terms, and end up in a position that isn’t terribly evidential. I think you are partly doing that here.

        Frankl was a neurologist and psychiatrist. If you read his book, he interpreted the experience of the camps slightly differently from how you do here. It’s short and a superb read and I can’t imagine a person not be moved by it, and take something for themselves from it. It’s half camp recollection, half psychology. It’s called Man’s Search for Meaning. As a religious person myself, I think his account of religious belief is much more convincing than the kind of all-too-easy, view that religion is just about fear of death. If you’re interested in why people believe, why belief became important in the camps, why not look at the evidence before drawing a conclusion?

        • Findaráto

          We all draw conclusions based on the evidence available to us. And I have read quite widely on the subject of religious faith. Frankl is not familiar to me, but I’ve read other concentration camp survivor accounts, notably that of Primo Levi.

          Levi’s reflections on Auschwitz offer a powerful illustration of the argument against God from evil and also put paid to the commonly-held belief that in difficult times all people turn to religion. “There is Auschwitz, and so there cannot be God” seems like a very cogent argument to me. A beneficent God who permits evil is a contradiction in terms. But if evil is merely a characteristic of the universe that is randomly distributed through the lives of sentient beings such as ourselves, no moral dilemma is posed by its existence.

          How do you explain a merciful God who causes children to be born with painful and debilitating congenital conditions like, for example, fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva? In this condition, the body repairs soft tissue injuries with bone, which causes sufferers progressively to lose the ability to move while suffering intolerable and constant pain.

          In a random and godless universe, bad things are caused by random bad luck. But what conclusion should a Christian child suffering from FOP draw about God’s love for him? The Bible tells us that God knits us together in our mother’s womb. Why would he knit a child together with the genetic anomaly that produces FOP? What purpose does it serve to condemn a child to a short lifetime of intense suffering? Can that purpose ever be benevolent?

          • Albert

            You’ve done what atheists tend to do. You’ve changed the subject. You claimed to know why people in the camps were very religious. Your suggestion flew in the face of the evidence provided by one of the foremost psychiatrists (who was also there) of the last Century. Nothing in Frankl’s position implies religious belief is true, it simply implies that your interpretation of religious belief is false. Therefore, you bringing up the logical problem of evil is just changing the subject and not a response to the evidence.

            A beneficent God who permits evil is a contradiction in terms.

            Prove it – logically I mean.

      • carl jacobs

        The alternate perspective is that people find it easy to ignore God when times are fat. Comfort breeds the illusion of autonomy. Woe to him who believes the illusion.

        • Findaráto

          Yes, that certainly is an alternative perspective. But in order for it to be a convincing one, there has to be some kind of certainty that God exists and wants us to submit to him.

          I have no such certainty, on one level because I wasn’t raised to believe in such things, but also because I have seen no convincing evidence that God exists.

          • carl jacobs

            The man born blind has no convincing evidence of light, either. You can tell him that his inability to comprehend is rooted in his own incapacity. But you cannot make him receive it.

      • Well, no, religious conversion or religious fervour wouldn’t appear “real” to a ‘superior’ atheist mind – just the panicked and craven hedging of dishonest intellects.

        • Findaráto

          If I came over as “superior” then I apologize. That was not my intent.

          All I can talk about are my own experiences. They’re all I know. My one brush with doubt on the subject of the existence of God came when there was a very good chance of me meeting him rather imminently (assuming he’s there to meet).

          They say your whole life flashes before your eyes when your life is in danger, but my experience was more like what you might feel before opening a door you’ve never opened before. You don’t know what lies behind it. A blank wall? Heaven? Hell? Something else? Was I properly dressed for the occasion, if there was going to be one? Had I done what was required of me on earth, if anything was required of me? And then a very strong feeling that I was being ridiculous and acting like a scared and ignorant child. “On earth” was where I was headed, or rather “to earth”, and the last sound I was going to hear would be the splat of me hitting ground. And then there would be nothing.

          I expect Christians may find my reaction insulting, but that isn’t my intent. I was raised in a secular family and religious faith is something I have no experience, nor understanding of. Religion interests me and I have looked at the basic beliefs of each of the major faiths, but none of them speak to me on any personal level. I don’t believe in God or any other spirit, but I don’t not believe in him/them either. It seems to me that we just don’t know what, if anything, lies beyond this lifetime, and that religion is merely an attempt to fill in the blanks.

          Christians have explained their faith to me before, but their explanations make no sense. At least not to me. It seems they’re willing to accept an awful lot on very little evidence. The feeling I get from them is that they want to believe, and that this want motivates them to accept what they probably wouldn’t if they were being a little more dispassionate about things. You can say the same about dyed in the wool Atheists too, who can be too ready to dismiss religion as fantasy when there’s no evidence that absolutely proves it to be false.

          All this to say that if faith can be said to be the “voice inside”, then my voice is telling me that God is a myth and that life is for living rather than wasting on trying to please a divine judge. When death is imminent, the mind is focused on what may come next, so I can understand why in those moments a man might suddenly “get religion”. But that didn’t happen to me.

          • Albert

            You say of Christians

            It seems they’re willing to accept an awful lot on very little evidence

            But earlier you said:

            All I can talk about are my own experiences.

            So from your experiences (that is, a sample of one), experiences which are those of someone who was raised in a secular family and religious faith is something I have no experience, nor understanding of, you’ve attempted to infer a psychoanalytic explanation of the religiosity of millions of people, you’ve never met, in circumstances you’ve never experienced.

            Is it really Christians who are willing to accept an awful lot on very little evidence?!

          • ” … my voice is telling me that God is a myth and that life is for living rather than wasting on trying to please a divine judge.”

            Christians don’t believe living it about attempting to please a divine judge. What makes you think that?

          • This display of faux humility and these convoluted explanations carry no truck with Jack.

    • dannybhoy

      Anna,
      thanks for posting this.
      Here’s a beautiful song from a young man by the name of Simcha Leiner called “Mimamakim” (From the depths)

      The clip starts with people descending into an air raid shelter in modern day Israel.
      I love the voice and the melody, and although it’s not I rather regard it as a love song from our Lord to His people in the style of Song of Solomon…
      Interpretation here>

      • Very beautiful song. Thank you.

  • len

    With God all things are possible.Without God anything is possible. The Jewish people still face the same threats today as they have done in the past.
    The persecution of the Jewish people cannot be understood unless the spirit that has sought the destruction of the Jewish people throughout history is taken into account.

    ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.'( Ephesians 6;12)

    • We can agree on this, Len. Ask why. Scripture informs us the Jews will convert to Jesus Christ before He returns in Glory. In Satan’s mind: eliminate the Jews, no conversion of Israel and no Second Coming. Impossible of course because history is under God’s control.

  • From chapter 19 of Solzhenitsyn’s Two Hundred Years Together:

    ‘Yet during the Great Plague of dekulakization, it was not thousands but millions of peasants who lost both their “right of living” and the “right to live”. And yet all the Soviet pens (with so many Jews among them) kept complete silence about this cold-blooded destruction of the Russian peasantry. In unison with them, the entire West was silent. Could it be really out of the lack of knowledge? Or was it for the sake of protecting the Soviet regime? Or was it simply because of indifference? Why, this is almost inconceivable: 15 million peasants were not simply deprived of entering the institutes of higher learning or of the right to submit a dissertation, or to occupy nice posts—no! They were dispossessed and driven like cattle out of their homes and sent to certain death in the taiga and tundra. And the Jews, among other passionate urban activists, enthusiastically took the reins of collectivization into their hands, leaving behind them an enduring memory of evil. Who had raised their voices in defense of the peasants then? And now, in 1932–33, in Russia and Ukraine—on the very outskirts of Europe, five to six million people died from hunger! And the free press of the free world maintained utter silence…

    ‘If you don’t see it, your heart doesn’t cry.’

    The Holodomor was possible because the humanity of the rejected was stripped away from them.

    • Ivan M

      Communism was the original sin of the 20th century. Everything else flowed from it. The Communists sowed the dragon’s teeth which in time made the past century possibly the bloodiest ever.

      • Anton

        And communism began not with Marx but with the French revolution.

        • IanCad

          Probably back a little further than that. The monasticism of the ancient world has been with us in various guises ever since.
          We had the Ranters of the English Civil War, along with the slightly less enthusiastic Diggers and Levellers.
          Every age has ’em.
          Different names, same delusions.

          • Ivan M

            I was about to say it began with Exodus to Anton.

          • Anton

            The Levellers were [according to Wikipedia] a political movement during the English Civil War that emphasised popular sovereignty, extended suffrage, common land ownership, equality before the law, and religious tolerance. What’s wrong with that? Common land ownership and equality before the law are straight from Moses.

          • IanCad

            I did say they were Ranter Lite. Common ownership may be a necessity when surrounded by hostile enemies but it is entirely incompatible with the notions of liberty.

          • Anton

            Ah, I need to check up whether they advocated communal ownership or universal ownership (ie, every family owned outright a plot). Only the latter is Mosaic.

          • IanCad

            Good point Anton; and a big difference.

        • Ivan M

          Don’t see any point in engaging with your superior chop-logic here.

          • Anton

            I was not disagreeing with what you said but widening the point.

          • Ivan M

            For what purpose?

          • Anton

            Historical perspective.

          • Ivan M

            Then why not reach back even further? See the Socialist Phenomenon by Igor Shafaryevitch.

          • Anton

            Because the French Revolution succeeded, by its own standards. But thank you for widening the conversation farther.

          • Ivan M

            Thank you for making the start.

      • @ Ivan M—Also from chapter 19:

        ‘In 1936, at the 8th Congress of Soviets of the Soviet Union, Molotov, on orders from Stalin (perhaps to differ from Hitler in the eyes of the West) delivered this tirade: “Our brotherly feelings toward the Jewish people are determined by the fact that they begat the genius and the creator of the ideas of the communist liberation of Mankind,” Karl Marx; “that the Jewish people, alongside the most developed nations, brought forth countless prominent scientists, engineers, and artists [that undoubtedly had already manifested itself in the Soviet 1930s, and will be even more manifest in the post-war years], and gave many glorious heroes to the revolutionary struggle…and in our country they gave and are still giving new, remarkable, and talented leaders and managers in all areas of development and defense of the Cause of Socialism.”’

        • Ivan M

          JR it is said that the success of Bolshevik Revolution owed to ‘Latvian rifles, Jewish brains and Russian stupidity’. Of these Jewish brains, Putin among others have noted upward of 85% of the leadership in the early phases were Jews. No doubt deracinated non-Torah believing Jews as noted by such authorities as Bertrand Russell and Winston Churchill. The pathological elements in any race form about 10%, no collective guilt is involved. JV Stalin, mightiest dictator of all time was the Commissioner for the Nationalities under Lenin. He knew how to play on racial antipathies by setting up the same type of deracinated Jews over the hapless East Europeans at the end of WWII. One can almost admire the Satanic genius.

          • @ Ivan M—no collective guilt is involved

            Rabbi Baruch Efrati is happy to make an exception for Christians: ‘We will never forgive Europe’s Christians for slaughtering millions of our children, women and elderly… Not just in the recent Holocaust, but throughout the generations, in a consistent manner which characterizes all factions of hypocritical Christianity.’

        • Anton

          Stalin was right about the remarkable performance of the Jews in science and technology. Between 1901 and 2007, for example, Jews won 48 of the 181 Nobel Prizes awarded in physics – more than 26%, despite comprising 0.2% of the world’s population and perhaps 1% of the population of the developed world at the time. The prizes are awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences.

    • carl jacobs

      Stalin wasn’t a Jew.

      • Ivan M

        Kaganovitch was Yagoda was Frenkel was Berman was, there were so many others that even Khrushchev the so called butcher of the Ukraine noted it.

        • carl jacobs

          By which you imply what? Was Bolshevism a Jewish phenomenon? Was Hitler right to refer to the Judeo-Bolshevist menace?

          The purpose of the Famine was break Ukrainian resistance to collectivization, to ensure a steady food supply reached the Communist support base in the urban centers, and to expropriate capital from the peasants for national development. It wasn’t a Jewish conspiracy.

          • CliveM

            It’s interesting that when you consider all who were involved, people felt (and still feel) the need to highlight that a small number of Jews, may (or may not) have been involved.

            Wonder why?

            Or perhaps I don’t. Good post Carl.

    • What’s the point of that and your other posts here ? It has nothing to do with or adds nothing to the topic. Namely, remembering or reflecting on the millions of Jews murdered because of Jew hate and antisemitism.

      • @ Hannah Out Loud—I’m trying to understand the reasons for the ‘Jew hate and antisemitism.’ Elie Wiesel’s presentation of history, ‘For two thousand years…we were always threatened…For what? For no reason’, is only valid if Jews were always the innocent victims and non-Jews were always the murderous aggressors. But such a black-and-white reading of history belongs only in fairy tales. History does not occur in isolation and we understand the Holocaust by understanding the history leading up to it. For example, the horror (I don’t think that is too strong a word) felt in Europe at events in Russia and at the involvement of Jews in those events, of which the Holodomor is but one example, albeit the most bloody.

        • “But such a black-and-white reading of history belongs only in fairy tales.”

          But that’s how YOU present history and your historiography all the time.

          “I’m trying to understand the reasons for the ‘Jew hate and antisemitism.’”

          Well, let me helpfully show by your own words :

          “only valid if Jews were always the innocent victims and non-Jews were always the murderous aggressors… “the involvement of Jews ” .

          Jews , Jews who were killed because they were Jews were the innocent victims and the Nazis were the murderous aggressors. There is no mystery here, but a helpful term for what you’ve done there called scapegoating , which is what historically antisemites do , e.g.

          all Jews were Jesus killers and therefore eternally evil. Therefore we can kill and harm them

          Or

          likening and linking the ideology of a handful of atheist communists who happened to be Russian Jews by birth, to the entirety of the Jewish people. You do this in your arguments all the time . It is what the Nazis did. You selectively quote from sources, some so laughably dubious they don’t prove anything or so out of context that it would make even Joseph Goebbels blush.

          But anyway here is the definition :

          “Scapegoating is blaming an individual or group for something based on that person’s group identity when, in reality, the person or group is not responsible. Prejudicial thinking and discriminatory acts can lead to scapegoating.”

          • @ Hannah Out Loud—Jews who were killed because they were Jews

            When the boot was on the other foot, non-Jews were killed because they were non-Jews. From chapter 16 of Two Hundred Years Together:

            ‘And what should we say about the genocide on the river Don, when hundreds of thousands of the flower of Don Cossacks were murdered? What should we expect from the Cossack memories when we take into consideration all those unsettled accounts between a revolutionary Jew and a Don Cossack?

            ‘In August 1919, the Volunteer Army took Kiev and opened several Chekas and found the bodies of those recently executed; Shulgin composed nominal lists of victims using funeral announcements published in the reopened Kievlyanin; one can’t help noticing that almost all names were Slavic…it was the “chosen Russians” who were shot. Materials produced by the Special Investigative Commission in the South of Russia provide insights into the Kiev Cheka and its command personnel (based on the testimony of a captured Cheka interrogator): “The headcount of the Cheka staff varied between 150 and 300…percentage-wise, there was 75% Jews and 25% others, and those in charge were almost exclusively Jews.” Out of twenty members of the Commission, ie, the top brass who determined people’s destinies, fourteen were Jews…An executioner…escorted a completely naked victim into a shed and ordered the victim to fall face down on the ground. Then he finished the victim with a shot in the back of the head…Usually because of the short distance, the skull of the executed person exploded into fragments…The next victim was similarly escorted inside and laid down nearby…When the number of victims exceeded…the capacity of the shed, new victims were laid down right upon the dead or were shot at the entrance of the shed.’

          • “Scapegoating is blaming an individual or group for something based on that person’s group identity when, in reality, the person or group is not responsible. Prejudicial thinking and discriminatory acts can lead to scapegoating.”

          • PS: that’s a pretty crap linkage because you’d have to explain how a handful of communist Russians who were born Jews and had in effect converted to another ideology, made it ok for the Nazis to exterminate the millions of other Jews in Europe who had nothing to do with the ruddy Russian revolution.

            Or by your crazy logic, Hitler was baptised Catholic, so Catholics can be blamed for any atrocity , if the perpetrator happened to be of said religious belief?

            Or indeed the antisemitism of the Soviet union itself.

            Wikipedia notes

            On Lenin , who said :

            “Jews and city dwellers on the Ukraine must be taken by hedgehog-skin gauntlets,[19] sent to fight on front lines and should never be allowed on any administrative positions (except a negligible percentage, in exceptional cases, and under [our] class control)”

            On Stalin who despite recognising Israel , attacked “bourgeois Jewish nationalism” (i.e. Zionism) and the “rootless Cosmopolitan’:

            “Antisemitism in the Soviet Union reached new heights after 1948 during the campaign against the “rootless cosmopolitan”, in which numerous Yiddish-writing poets, writers, painters and sculptors were killed or arrested.[2][3] This culminated in the so-called Doctors’ plot, in which a group of doctors (some of whom were Jewish) had allegedly conspired to murder Stalin.[4]”

          • Anton

            Today is Holocaust Memorial day specifically.

          • @ Anton—Today is Holocaust Memorial day specifically

            Is there a Holodomor Memorial Day, specifically? Or do we not bother to remember the victims of Jews?

          • Anton

            You can hold your own and petition for one if you wish, but today is Holocaust Memorial Day.

            I dispute that they were the victims of Jews.

          • @ Anton—I dispute that they were the victims of Jews

            From chapter 18 of Two Hundred Years Together:

            ‘The Jewish Encyclopedia writes that…[anti-Semitism] was fanned by the “widely held opinion that power in the country had been seized by Jews who formed the nucleus of the Bolsheviks.” Bikerman [a Jew] wrote with evident concern in 1923 that “the Jew is in all corners and on all levels of power…The Russian sees him as a ruler of Moscow, at the head of the capital on Neva, and at the head of the Red Army, a perfected death machine. He sees that St Vladimir Prospect has been renamed Nakhimson Prospect…The Russian sees the Jew as judge and hangman; he sees Jews at every turn, not only among the communists, but among people like himself, everywhere doing the bidding of Soviet power.” Not surprising, the Russian, comparing present with past, is confirmed in his idea that power is Jewish power, that it exists for Jews and does the bidding of Jews.’

          • Anton

            From the Wikipedia page about that book:


            Solzhenitsyn emphatically denies that Jews were responsible for the revolutions of 1905 and 1917. At the end of chapter nine, Solzhenitsyn denounces “the superstitious faith in the historical potency of conspiracies” that leads some to blame the Russian revolutions on the Jews and to ignore the “Russian failings that determined our sad historical decline.”…

            Solzhenitsyn purports to document the over-representation of Jews in the early Bolshevik leadership and the security apparatus, claiming, for instance, that of the 22 ministers in the first Soviet government three were Russian, one Georgian, one Armenian and 17 Jews. However, the first Bolshevik government, the Sovnarkom was composed of 15 People’s Commissars (ministers), of whom only one (Trotsky) was Jewish, and of the 25 individuals who held that position between 1923 and 1930 only 5 were Jewish. Vadim Abramov’s monograph “Jews in the KGB” demonstrated that although Jews were trusted by the early communist authorities as formerly disenfranchised victims of the Tsarist regime, their number in the security services at no point exceeded 9%, and from 1927 never exceeded 4%.

          • @ Anton—Yes, one of Wiki’s more entertaining pages. One wonders who the authors are, and why they are so determined to suppress the truth.

          • Anton

            Can you name other members of the original Sovnarkom than Trotsky who were Jewish, or name more than 5 Jews on it from between 1923 and 1930? Have you different figures from Abramov, and what?

          • @ Anton—From chapter 18 of ‘that book’:

            ‘According to official data reported in Pravda in 1922, Jews made up 5·2% of the party. M Agursky: “But their actual influence was considerably more. In that same year at the 11th Communist Party Congress Jews made up 14·6% of the voting delegates, 18·3% of the non-voting delegates and 26% of those elected to the Central Committee at the conference.” (Sometimes one accidentally comes upon such data: a taciturn memoirist from Moscow opens Pravda in July, 1930 and notes: “The portrait of the 25-member Presidium of the Communist Party included 11 Russians, 8 Jews, 3 from the Caucasus, and 3 Latvians.”).

            ‘M Agursky correctly notes that in absolute numbers the majority of communists were, of course, Russians, but “the unusual role of Jews in leadership was dawning on the Russians.” It was just too obvious.

            ‘By 1921 the preponderance of Jews in Petrograd CP organization… “was apparently so odious that the Politburo…decided to send several ethnic Russian communists to Petrograd, though entirely for publicity purposes.” So Uglanov took the place of Zorin-Homberg as head of Gubkom; Komarov replaced Trilisser and Semyonov went to the Cheka.

            ‘But not only in Petrograd—at the 12th Communist Party Congress (1923) three out of six Politburo members were Jewish. Three out of seven were Jews in the leadership of the Komsomol and in the Presidium of the all-Russia Conference in 1922.’

            Chapter 19 has reams of names of Jews in government. Solzhenitsyn writes that, from the mid-1930s, Lazar Kaganovich was ‘Secretary of the Central Committee and simultaneously a member of the Organizational Bureau of the Central Committee’, an achievement equalled only by Stalin.

            ‘Security services’ could mean anything from the police to the Cheka to the military. Jews played a major role in the Cheka, as I noted earlier.

          • Anton

            Solzhenitsyn’s book says one thing, Wikipedia contradicts it and says it’s an unreliable source. You respond by further quoting Solzhenitsyn’s book, but that obviously isn’t capable of settling the matter, whereas answering my question is: Can you name other members of the original Sovnarkom than Trotsky who were Jewish, or name more than 5 Jews on it from between 1923 and 1930?

          • @ Anton—Yuri Slezkine is a Jew. He’s the author of a book called The Jewish Century, reviewed here. The book may have the names that are so important to you. 82, 84 and 93 below refer to pages of the review.

            82: Slezkine’s main contribution is to summarize previously available data and to extend our understanding of Jewish dominance of the revolutionary movements before 1917, and of Soviet society thereafter.

            84: there were 23 Jews among the 62 Bolsheviks in the All-Russian Central Executive Committee elected at the Second Congress of Soviets in October, 1917. Jews were the leaders of the movement, and to a great extent they were its public face…Jews constituted a ‘vast percentage’ of the Cheka at the front and in the Executive Committees at the front and at the rear…Slezkine provides statistics on Jewish overrepresentation in [the Cheka and OGPU]…During the 1930s the secret police, then known as the NKVD, ‘was one of the most Jewish of all Soviet institutions’ (p 254), with 42 of its 111 top officials being Jewish. At this time 12 of the 20 NKVD directorates were headed by ethnic Jews, including those in charge of state security, police, labor camps, and resettlement (ie, deportation). The Gulag was headed by ethnic Jews from its beginning in 1930 until the end of 1938, a period that encompasses the worst excesses of the Great Terror. They were, in Slezkine’s words, ‘Stalin’s willing executioners (p 103).’

            93: [Slezkine argues] that Jews were critically involved in destroying traditional Russian institutions, liquidating Russian nationalists, murdering the tsar and his family, dispossessing and murdering the kulaks, and destroying the Orthodox Church.

          • Anton

            I’m not surprised they wanted the Orthodox church destroyed. There were no Jews in Russia until 300 years ago, then when they came there was instant anti-semitism; where else could it have been awaiting them than in the Orthodox church? It is notorious for having tacitly encouraged pogroms. Had it bothered to understand its own scriptures then it would have defended them.

            More about the rest tomorrow; thank you.

          • Anton

            I find Slezkine’s thesis that peoples can be categorised as mercurian or appolonian to be painfully over-simplistic. What is the case is that Jews who emerged from segregation into European society had a tradition of being hard-working and lilterate among, in Russia at least, a population that had no reputation for either. It is not surprising that they are going to be disproportionately represented among the elite, and not surprising that they welcomed a regime that ended the persecution they had suffered on racial and religious ground. However on the committees you specify they were still in a minority and therefore decisions were dominated by Russians. As for the Holodomor, it is unthinkable that Stalin was defied to cause it.

          • @ Anton—not surprising that they welcomed a regime that ended the persecution they had suffered on racial and religious ground

            Solzhenitsyn writes in chapter 5 of ‘that book’:

            ‘It is necessary to thoroughly examine the position of the government. The general solutions to the problem [of anti-Semitism] were being sought in discussions in government and administrative spheres. In a report to His Majesty, NP Ignatiev, the new Minister of Internal Affairs, outlined the scope of the problem for the entire previous reign: “Recognizing the harm to the Christian population from the Jewish economic activity, their tribal exclusivity and religious fanaticism, in the last 20 years the government has tried to blend the Jews with the rest of the population using a whole row of initiatives, and has almost made the Jews equal in rights with the native inhabitants.” However, the present anti-Jewish movement “incontrovertibly proves, that despite all the efforts of the government, the relations between the Jews and the native population of these regions remain abnormal as in the past,” because of the economic issues: after the easing of civil restrictions, the Jews have not only seized commerce and trade, but they have acquired significant landed property. “Moreover, because of their cohesion and solidarity, they have, with few exceptions, directed all their efforts not toward the increase of the productive strength of the state, but primarily toward the exploitation of the poorest classes of the surrounding population.” And now, after we have crushed the disorders and defended the Jews from violence, “it seems just and urgent to adopt no less energetic measures for the elimination of these abnormal conditions…between the native inhabitants and the Jews, and to protect the population from that harmful activity of the Jews.”’

            Some persecution.

            on the committees you specify they were still in a minority

            I specified that Jews constituted a ‘vast percentage’ of the Cheka. In his Illustrated Sunday Herald article of 1920, Churchill writes: ‘And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses.’

          • Anton

            Kindly stop hiding behind authors and make your own arguments, quoting others only for what you take to be facts. I was referring to the persecution of the Jews *before* 1917; it is not clear whether the first paragraph of your post refers to that or to later harsh treatments of Jews in the USSR. But it is not in doubt that they were persecuted before 1917 in pogroms, triggering the migration of millions to the USA. Would you like references?

            Vast percentage means what? It could be relative to their proportion in the population. And the Cheka simply did the dirty business of the ruling Politburo: anybody who didn’t obey orders got shot.

          • @ Anton—Chapter 5 is entitled ‘After the Murder of Alexander II’, which took place in March, 1881, ‘*before* 1917’. The reference to ‘His Majesty’ is to his successor, Alexander III.

            I find myself in a quandary. You castigate me for ‘hiding behind authors’ yet you demand facts about the Cheka which I can only supply by… hiding behind authors. And if the facts offend your prejudices, experience indicates that you will simply dismiss them. In such circumstances, it is pointless to continue.

          • Anton

            What I am objecting to is the pasting of lengthy extracts including entire paragraphs. The usual etiquette – which has evolved for good reasons – is to give the numbers (or the argument) in your own words and then just state the source (book name, author and page). On those terms I welcome dialogue. Thank you for the clarificatory title of chapter 5.

          • CliveM

            They weren’t victims of Jews, they were victims of communists.

          • @ CliveM—Please see my reply to Anton of a few minutes ago, quoting from chapter 18 of Two Hundred Years Together.

  • IanCad

    Good to see you again Bro Ivo; and this on a solemn of solemn days of memorial.

    “There, all humanity was killed in a systematic, planned way; not in anger, but simply because that is what the state said needed to be done, and someone had to do it.”

    And do it again we will, the winds of strife will not long abate. We are conformist and obedient – we were trained.

    I do hope this thread does not descend into the bickering of the last. Who did the worst to the most, and who were those most who did the worst.

    There is blame enough for all, including my own denomination who so enthusiastically supported the clean living and abstemious Adolph Hitler. But, to offset those shameful dark tales, shines the light of the few, of all creeds and none, whose examples are for us to follow and remember.

    • CliveM

      Well said.

    • dannybhoy

      Amen Ian.

  • Anton

    I was there nine years ago this month. The Auschwitz site no longer has any sense of evil but it is desolate beyond words, and only a phrase from the word of God himself suited to describe the ruins of the gas chambers: an abomination that caused desolation.

    • chiefofsinners

      I think we could suspend Godwin’s law, just for today.

  • Terry Mushroom

    I went to Auschwitz during martial law in the 80s. Led by our Polish organist, a small group of us drove Transit vans with medical supplies and oranges and sweets across Holland, West Germany, East Germany to Jan’s home parish. After five tumultuous days of high and low emotions where we talked of nothing but politics, the PP invited us to see Auschwitz, some 40 miles away.

    It was bitterly cold. We seemed to be the only visitors. One of our number became very distressed. She explained that she was a convert Catholic from Judaism and had lost relatives in the camp. If the exhibits shocked us, we were buffeted by the sheer banal ordinariness of the buildings and gas chamber; that people were killed for no other reason than they existed. Mainly Jews, but others as well.

    That night Jan’s sister told us terrible things of what she had seen, living so close. I recall her describing the bits of skin hanging from the electrified barbed wire, left by prisoners who had committed suicide. It was my birthday, our hosts sang “Stolat” to me and I got rather drunk. “My sister has a present for you,” Jan said.

    She handed me a crude carving of Christ wearing the crown of thorns. What struck me were the harsh, deep lines of suffering and sadness in Christ’s face. “Take this and believe,” Jan translated for his sister. “This is the Lord of history and He has us in His care.”

    • Terry Mushroom

      My posting has revived horrible memories of that visit. Not least that Christians have not always acknowledged that the Jews were the first to hear the word of God and that we are in debt to their suffering faithfulness. Jesus, of course, was a Jew.

      A bag lady used to wander central Slough in the mid-sixties. She stank and could be aggressive with her habit of suddenly running through startled shoppers. But the police were always very gentle with her. A copper explained to me that she thought she was still in a camp. He explained to me what the numbers on her arm meant.

      • chiefofsinners

        My experience was very similar, going there at the same time and for the same reasons. At 20 years old I had no idea what I was walking into. Nothing prepares you for it and it lives with you always. The room of false limbs is surely the lowest place on earth. But the only thing worse than going there would be to avoid going.

  • David

    When still a twenty years old student I visited Dachau and was deeply shocked, especially as I went round it with a Jewish student that I had met and befriended a few days earlier. We didn’t speak at all during the experience and for half an hour afterwards.
    Then thirty-five years later, when in Poland, I visited Auschwitz and was just as deeply shocked again, but in an indescribably different way.
    Yet mankind learns not, as atrocities every bit as cold, machine like and supremacist are happening still in the ME.
    During WW2 the killings were inflicted upon a people in the name of German supremacy and National Socialism. Now it is being done in the name of the Muslim supremacist God. What are we Christians to make of that ? Only that those who hate God come in many guises perhaps ? Perhaps our war mongering western political leaders, who in the name of so called “liberal” intervention, seem to delight in destabilising viable countries, and causing never ending bloodshed, feel close to both of those murderous groups ? They certainly seem just as callous.

  • carl jacobs

    Auschwitz has become the iconic image of the Holocaust in the West because Auschwitz is in many respects the Western experience of the Holocaust. It was the destination of Western Jews – people like us. There were survivors of Auschwitz who could tell the story – stories with which we could easily identify. Auschwitz is also the end of the Holocaust and not the beginning. Twice as many Jews were killed in Ukraine, in Byelorussia, in the Baltic states by the old-fashioned methods of being driven into ditches and shot, or by being herded into buildings and burned alive. The industrialization of Auschwitz was a results of lessons learned and faithfully applied over the prior years of effort.

    This does not minimize Auschwitz, or what it represents, or what happened there. It only places it in its proper context. The Holocaust is much larger than the camp. And many of the stories outside the camp will never be told or remembered.

    • Dreadnaught

      Auschwitz and Holocaust are merely shorthand for the depravity of what men are capable of inflicting on others. If this ‘signature coupling’ is a convenient way of focusing on one date that reminds us of the bigger issue, then that is quite acceptable to my reasoning.

  • A very thoughtful piece, Brother Ivo and thank you.

    Being half Polish and with relatives who were in Mauthausen, this is a subject close to my heart. I also would like to quote here a prayer which was found in the clothing of a dead child at Ravensbruck concentration camp, it is not known who wrote it, but the grace shines.

    O Lord, remember not only the men and woman of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us:

    Instead remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering—our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble.

    When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.

    • Dreadnaught

      Painfully poignant. Thank you Tibs.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Just beautiful Tibs ! The camps leave their imprint on the descendants of the survivors as well.

  • Am Yisraeli Chai.

    • Anton

      “The hope two thousand years old, to be a free nation in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

      It happened.

      • dannybhoy

        It happened because the Jews remain God’s Chosen people, and He will honour His Covenant towards them.
        Genesis 50>
        “16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died, 17 ‘Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[b] should be kept alive, as they are today.”

        The duty of the Church in our generation is to stand with our Jewish community and with Israel. Not blindly, not ignoring their faults, but aware that we owe them our Lord and our faith.

        • Anton

          Yes indeed.

      • Hi

        Yes bad the full poem in English is something like this :

        “So long as still within the inmost heart
        a Jewish soul sings,
        so long as the eye looks eastward,
        gazing toward Zion:

        Our hope is not lost:
        that hope of two thousand years,
        to be a free people in our land:
        the land of Zion and Jerusalem

        Our hope is not yet lost,
        The hope of two thousand years,
        To be a free people in our land,
        The land of Zion and Jerusalem:

        Our hope is not yet lost,
        The ancient hope,
        To return to the land of our fathers,
        The city where David encamped:

        As long as tears from our eyes
        Flow like benevolent rain,
        And throngs of our countrymen
        Still pay homage at the graves of (our) fathers;

        As long as our precious Wall
        Appears before our eyes,
        And over the destruction of G-d’s Temple
        An eye still wells up with tears;

        As long as the waters of the Jordan
        In fullness swell its banks,
        And (down) to the Sea of Galilee
        With tumultuous noise fall;

        As long as on the barren highways
        The humbled city gates mark,
        And among the ruins of Jerusalem
        A daughter of Zion still cries;

        As long as pure tears
        Flow from the eye of a daughter of my nation,
        And to mourn for Zion at the watch of night
        She still rises in the middle of the nights;

        As long as drops of blood in our veins
        Flow back and forth,
        And upon the graves of our fathers
        Dewdrops still fall;

        Hear, O my people in the lands of exile,
        The voice of our Prophets,
        (Who declare) That only with the very last Jew —
        Only there is the end of our hope!

        Go, my people, return in peace to your land
        The balm in Gilead, your healer in Jerusalem,
        Your healer is G-d, the wisdom of His heart,
        Go my people in peace, Redemption is imminent… ”

  • Dreadnaught

    An excellent post Bro Ivo. As one gets older one realises there is a tremendous propensity for the successive generations to detach themselves from the physical experiences of people of the past and regard those events as just something as another fact of historical note; the only value being to remember it in case it pops up at exam time.
    As a youth was aware (slightly) of the Irish Potato Famine and 3 million dead or displaced through immigration, but when I considered that it took place 100 years before my birthday and my father who was living with me was, at that time 90 years old, that hundred years was translated into just one lifetime.
    It was a very sobering thought.

  • ” … early in its story the Atheist Nazi State consigned to the camp the leaders of Polish Church lest it speak its truths, hold its peoples to hope, and challenge the inhumanity of what was to come, and the pride that underpinned it.”

    The Roman Catholic Church was brutally persecuted in Poland.

    “From across Poland, thousands of priests died in prisons and concentration camps; thousands of churches and monasteries were confiscated, closed or destroyed; and priceless works of religious art and sacred objects were lost forever. Church leaders were targeted as part of an overall effort to destroy Polish culture. At least 1811 Polish clergy died in Nazi Concentration Camps. An estimated 3000 clergy were killed in all. Hitler’s plans for the Germanization of the East saw no place for the Christian Churches.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_persecution_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Poland

    • Anton

      This is true and deserves to be better known, for it is as sorry a persecution of Christians as any. Unhappily, though, it seems to have begun the silences of Pope Pius XII. At the end of 1940 he told the Polish people and church that it was their lot to suffer for the greater glory of God. Hilarius Breitinger, the Franciscan apostolic administrator of one part of occupied Poland, had a letter sent via Cardinal Faulhaber to Pius requesting that his silence end. It didn’t. Early in 1942 Bishop Sapieha wrote to Rome that some of the faithful had lost respect for and confidence in the Pope. From exile, Cardinal Hlond pressed the Pope several times to speak out and finally stated curtly that he doubted that “it was the will of God that the atrocities and anti-Christian pogroms [of the Nazis] be passed over in silence.” In September 1942 the exiled Bishop Radonski finally wrote to Rome including the phrase et Papa tacet, tamquamsi nihl eum interesset be ovibus (and the Pope keeps quiet as though these matters are of no interest to him). The lot of Polish Catholics improved thereafter because their labour was required by the Nazis, and relations between the Catholic church in Poland and the Vatican improved. But the first accusation of silence levelled at Pius came from inside the church, and came in relation to the maltreatment of Catholics. Many of the appeals for Pius to speak out came from inside Poland by people who would have been aware of and subject to the consequences of papal intervention. Why the silence? There is evidence that Hitler had threatened the Vatican with physical destruction if Pius spoke out. For more detail and documentation see chapter 2 of Michael Phayer’s book Pius XII, the Holocaust and the Cold War.

      • Always seeking an anti-Papal angle, Anton. The Pope was no doubt mindful of the safety of millions of European Catholics and the propensity of the Nazis to persecution and murder.

        Care to point out the public opposition to Hitler from other Christian Church leaders? Also, bearing in mind his responsibilities, please outline the strategy you were have preferred the Pope to have adopted.

        Vatican Radio was the first to inform the world of the depths of the Nazi atrocities in Poland just months after its occupation through broadcasts in January, 1940, given at the direction of Pope Pius XII. Pius XII also raised the issue in his Easter and Christmas messages in 1940 and 1941, in articles in the Vatican newspaper, as well as in the first encyclical of his pontificate, Summi Pontificatus. In a March 1940 confrontation with Joachim von Ribbontrop Pius XII read to him a detailed report on Nazi atrocities in Poland aimed at both the Church and the Jews. That meeting received in depth coverage in the New York Times. The nuncio to Germany was also instructed by Pius repeatedly to plead for better treatment of Polish priests and lay people. This is not papal silence.

        In his annual Christmas message of 1942, Pius XII condemned totalitarian regimes and mourned the victims of the war, “the hundreds of thousands who, through no fault of their own, and solely because of their nation or race, have been condemned to death or progressive extinction.” The statement was loudly praised in the Allied world with a Christmas Day 1942 editorial in the New York Times lauding the pope for speaking out.

        Maybe you should widen your sources and try to be a bit more objective.

        “Pius XII, the Holocaust, and the Cold War by Michael Phayer, a retired professor of history at Marquette University, is more the product of one man’s subjective views than of objective evidence.

        Little documentary evidence, speculation, misrepresentation and bias. Hardly a reliable account.

        “Clearly, this study relies on sources that are more in accord with Phayer’s jaundiced view of the Pope than it is open to those historians who, in the aftermath of Rolf Hoch­huth’s defamation of Pius XII in the early 1960s, have exposed that playwright’s shortcomings. While Phayer credits Pius for speaking out in defense of the Jews in 1942, he should have known from such studies as Pinchas E. Lapide’s Three Popes and the Jews (1967) and Hans Jansen’s The Silent Pope? (2000) about Pius’s specific help for the Jews before and after that year. For Phayer, Pius was more concerned with preserving Rome and the Catholic Church than he was with saving Jews after 1942. Since the prime responsibility of the Holy Father is to the Catholic Church, the Pope realized that the Church would not have been able to save as many Jews as she did had he not been concerned with saving Rome.

        Given what the author has presented about Pope Pius XII throughout this work, “Phayer’s Pope” would have been a more accurate title for this book.”

        http://www.newoxfordreview.org/reviews.jsp?did=0409-lapomarda

        • Anton

          Phayer works from primary sources and has nothing to do with Hochhuth’s essentially fictitious play (or Cornwell’s inaccurate book). Pius’s response to the Holocaust was aired on the previous thread on this blog and I’ll repeat only information about his 1942 Christmas broadcast. This broadcast was made after multiple requests from Latin American countries who pointed out that Pius’ silence was damaging his authority there. It failed even to mention Jews or Nazis by name; near the end of his 45-minute speech he made six consecutive “Mankind owes this vow to…” statements, specifying suffering groups including mothers of combatants and people bombed out of their homes. The fourth ran: “Mankind owes this vow to those hundreds of thousands who, without any fault on their part, sometimes only because of their nationality or race, have been consigned to death or to a slow decline.” His speech merely had the effect of categorising Holocaust victims – for the few who understood the reference – with soldiers’ mothers and homeless people.

          You mentioned the fierce Nazi persecution of the Roman Catholic church in Poland in 1939-42, and I pointed out Pius’ meagre response. Here is your reply about that, with annotations:

          Vatican Radio was the first to inform the world of the depths of the Nazi atrocities in Poland just months after its occupation through broadcasts in January, 1940, given at the direction of Pope Pius XII. Pius XII also raised the issue in… the first encyclical of his pontificate, Summi Pontificatus.

          Yes, his January 1940 broadcast was excellent but was the last time Pius spoke so pointedly and explicitly in the public domain, and it was not long after that that Hitler directed threats at the fabric of the Vatican according to Phayer. Summi Pontificatus was published only weeks after Poland had been invaded, and the systematic persecution under discussion was not in place then; honour to Pius for mentioning Poland by name, though.

          Pius XII also raised the issue in his Easter and Christmas messages in 1940 and 1941, [and] in articles in the Vatican newspaper

          If these messages, and articles in the time frame under discussion, contain more than broad generalities of the sort typified in his Christmas 1942 comment on the Holocaust, then they certainly contradict Phayer. Please provide references to their content. There is the difficulty of statements by Polish Catholic church leaders expressing unhappiness with Pius’ protracted public silence, but if that proves inaccurate then I shall change my views and request an explanation from Phayer via his publishers.

          In a March 1940 confrontation with Joachim von Ribbontrop Pius XII read to him a detailed report on Nazi atrocities in Poland aimed at both the Church and the Jews. That meeting received in depth coverage in the New York Times. The nuncio to Germany was also instructed by Pius repeatedly to plead for better treatment of Polish priests and lay people. This is not papal silence… Also, bearing in mind his responsibilities, please outline the strategy you would have preferred the Pope to have adopted.

          There was papal public silence, which is what Polish Catholic church leaders pleaded for an end to. Given that they were the ones who would have experienced any increased persecution in response to a public statement, it is not legitimate to say that Pius kept quiet for their sake. As for the meeting with Ribbentrop, it was rightly hostile but was still, like Pius’ broadcast two months earlier, early on in the war; it was the two years after this early period that caused Catholic church leaders to complain about Pius’ public silence. Moreover the meeting with Ribbentrop was private, not public – see p115-6 of this paper about the meeting:

          http://www.umanitoba.ca/colleges/st_pauls/ccha/Back%20Issues/CCHA1968/Conway.pdf

          • Strange if the Pope’s actions were private and not public then how come they were so publically known and reported in American and British newspapers.

            The Western world knew what the Christmas message of 1942 referred to. You are forgetting the Pope’s responsibilities. As the leader of the universal Church, his jurisdiction covers all the nations of Europe and not just Poland. To overtly challenge Hitler and his regime and/or to call for mass resistance from the Polish population, would have signed the death warrant on millions.

            ” … it was not long after that that Hitler directed threats at the fabric of the Vatican according to Phayer.” And his actual documentary evidence for this is what exactly? Pius had more on his mind than a building.

            Now, do offer your suggestions for what you think Pope Pius should have done in this situation. It’s easy to criticise.

          • CliveM

            In the middle of the most genocidal war in history, with the most evil regime in history running the majority of Europe, with nothing but the Swiss Guard for personal protection and no physical means of protecting your flock, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Pope, who had to pick his through a very delicate and explosive minefield, may at times have appeared uncertain as to what the right approach should be. This was of course in the face of a regime more than willing and capable of massacring whole districts of women and children to make a point.

            Even today, with the benefit of hindsight, the answer to the problems he faced are not clear.

          • Anton clearly has the answers and Jack is waiting with bated breath to learn what they are.

          • Anton

            I am not in possession of enough information to answer that question. But the Polish Catholic church leaders of the time presumably were, and they criticised Pius for silence. Why was that?

            Did you not read the reference I gave – right down to the page – about how that private meeting reached the public domain?

            It’s a bit much to fail to read one reference I gave, ignore my request for references backing up your position, then demand further details of mine. Here they are, nevertheless. Phayer documents a threat relayed via Germany’s ambassador to Chile (p28 and associated endnotes) and another stated to Italian minister of State Roberto Farinacci, evidently for relaying (in Phayer’s earlier book The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, p26). Now it’s your turn. Will you tell me what Pius said in “his Easter and Christmas messages in 1940 and 1941, [and] in articles in the Vatican newspaper” which meant that Polish Catholic church leaders a couple of years later (and Michael Phayer) were wrong to criticise him for public silence over the persecution of the Catholic church in Poland?

            To start you off, here’s his Easter 1941 address

            https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/pius041341.html

            which does not mention persecution of any specific set of Christians and does not mention Poland at all.

          • Phayer provides no documentary evidence – just supposedly recollected word of mouth threats. Besides, even if such threats were made, which is unsubstantiated, it doesn’t follow they motivated silence on the part of Pope Pius. His considerations were much wider than mere buildings and property. Phayer uses a “questionable methodology constructed out of guesses, innuendoes, and surmises to fashion his interpretation of Pius as a Machiavellian character.”

            Phayer assumes it was Pope Pius XII’s obsession with communism that drove his action and his alleged indefensible silence. He sees this as the explanation for the Pope failing to speak out about the killing of Polish Catholics; why he refused to speak out in defence of the Jews after his 1942 Christmas message; why he did not encourage the Dutch, French, and German bishops to protest the persecution of the Jews in their countries. All terribly naïve and one sided. Imagine the consequences for members of the Church.

            It is abundantly clear what the Pope is alluding to in his Christmas messages 1942. Pius XII condemned totalitarian regimes and mourned the victims of the war, “the hundreds of thousands who, through no fault of their own, and solely because of their nation or race, have been condemned to death or progressive extinction.” Not much room for doubt about what he’s referring to. The statement was loudly praised in the Allied world with a Christmas Day 1942 editorial in the New York Times lauding the pope for speaking out. He certainly appears to have influenced American public opinion. Thereafter, the Church across Europe went about quietly and discreetly saving hundreds of thousands of Jews from slaughter.

            And what should Pope Pius have done? Do tell. He had more than Poland to consider. Millions of Jews were being rounded up and murdered; and Catholic priests, religious and lay people were being openly threatened and persecuted across Nazi controlled Europe. So, go on, imagine your the Pope in 1942. You have more knowledge now than was available to Pius. Tell us how he should have behaved.

            Put up or shut up.

          • Anton

            You accept a report of the Ribbentrop-Pius meeting which must have been written down afterwards from recollection; you believe miracles about the Virgin Mary that are not in the gospels and which, if true, must have been transmitted orally for centuries; then you grumble that Phayer’s documentation is based on conversations that were written down afterwards? Consistency please!

            Have you actually read Phayer, or just reviews? He argues that Pius kept quiet over the Polish Catholics, then the Jews, not because of his antipathy to communism, but because of Nazi threats to the Vatican. He uses the latter to explain other aspects of Pius’ papacy unrelated to the present discussion.

            You tell me to put up or shut up after twice ignoring my request for details of what Pius said in “his Easter and Christmas messages in 1940 and 1941, [and] in articles in the Vatican newspaper” (your words) which meant that Polish Catholic church leaders a couple of years later were wrong to criticise him for public silence over the persecution of the Catholic church in Poland? Perhaps you should take your own advice?

          • Just reviews – as a rule, Jack doesn’t waste his time or money on poorly researched, anti-Catholic books.
            Jack notes that neither Phayer nor you have said what Pope Pius should have done. Go on, give it a go. Unless you have an alternative viable strategy that he could have adopted your criticism and speculation about his motives is hollow and comes across as mere carping sectarianism.

          • Anton

            Comes across to you as such, but you aren’t very impartial are you? I freely admitted that I am not in possession of enough information to answer that question. But the Polish Catholic church leaders of the time presumably were, and they criticised Pius for silence. Why was that? And what, in “his Easter and Christmas messages in 1940 and 1941, [and] in articles in the Vatican newspaper” (your words) meant that those church leaders a couple of years later were wrong to criticise him for it?

          • If you have no serious alternative strategy then your criticism of Pius actions and his motives are really irrelevant. One can imagine the despair of the Polish bishops as priests, religious and lay members were rounded up and slaughtered. Pope Pius speaking out would not have changed that fact and would simply have accelerated the process across Europe.
            The only other alternative path for the Pope to have followed would have open and overtly public hostility to Hitler and Nazism and would have resulted in personal martyrdom and the increased slaughter of Catholics. Sensible or foolhardy?

          • Anton

            It would take a year of research to answer your question; like Polish church leaders of the time both inside Poland and in exile – and together providing a rounded picture – I dispute that there was no alternative.

            Having said that Pius, in his in “Easter and Christmas messages in 1940 and 1941, [and] in articles in the Vatican newspaper”, spoke out robustly against the persecution of the Catholic church in Poland, are you going to show me some quotes? If not, why not?

          • Anton

            That’s your basis for saying that Pius, in his in “Easter and Christmas messages in 1940 and 1941, [and] in articles in the Vatican newspaper”, spoke out robustly against the persecution of the Catholic church in Poland? It gives not a single quote and doesn’t mention Poland even at secondhand.

          • Read the whole book. And you’re evidence for claiming he stayed silent simply to protect the property of the Church is what exactly? Some obscure comments by the odd German General and the desperate pleas of the Polish bishops.
            One notes too for all your criticism of Pope Pius you have no alternative strategy to offer. If you want to condemn him then say what he should have done and, before doing so, work out the likely consequences in human lives – Jewish and Catholic.

          • Anton

            You say that Pius, in his in “Easter and Christmas messages in 1940 and 1941, [and] in articles in the Vatican newspaper”, spoke out robustly against the persecution of the Catholic church in Poland, then when I ask for evidence you send me to a specific passage of a specific book, then when I say it doesn’t give any such evidence you refer me to the “whole book”? I am asking for one specific passage detailing those messages and articles and you, who have apparently read the book, are not giving one. Is that because you can’t?

            You dismiss as “desperate” the pleas of the Polish bishops for Pius to speak out, as if it was not a measured request. But they would have been well aware of the possible consequences for themselves and their flock – better aware than Pius, obviously, as they were in Poland and so were the Nazis – and they decided that this was the best thing for them. The idea that they had been ground down and were out of their minds, and that Pius was keeping a cool silence as master of the situation, is implausible. This man was a career diplomat who did not know how to play a hand of diplomatic poker in a difficult situation. Had his predecessor lived longer it might have been different.

            you’re evidence for claiming he stayed silent simply to protect the property of the Church is what exactly? Some obscure comments by the odd German General and the desperate pleas of the Polish bishops.</i.

            I have not used the pleas of the German bishops as evidence that his underlying motivation was to protect the Vatican. I have cited specific threats uttered by Hitler and by diplomats under him who would do exactly as he said. That their names are little remembered is utterly irrelevant to their subservience and obedience to Hitler.

            You use the phrase “the property of the Church”, but what you mean is St Peter’s, the adjoining papal palace and the Vatican archives. A Roman aristocrat like Pius is going to see those things as the crown jewels of 2000 years and priorities them incredibly highly – witness his endless conversations with Allied diplomats seeking guarantees that they would not be bombed. A denomination that has an administrative centre run as a mini-State has an Achilles’ heel and Hitler knew and exploited it.

          • This is getting boring.

            “A Roman aristocrat like Pius is going to see those things as the crown jewels of 2000 years and priorities them incredibly highly – witness his endless conversations with Allied diplomats seeking guarantees that they would not be bombed. “

            That’s just assertion and rather nasty speculation. Given the possibility of a positive outcome for being more overtly and openly hostile to Nazism, Jack is sure the Pope would have risked the Vatican buildings. But what positive outcome would follow? You don’t actually say. Should the Pope have martyred himself and put the lives of millions of other Catholics in jeopardy? For what exactly? Besides, he did condemn Nazism.

            Btw, Phayer does claim it was Pius XII’s preoccupation with communism that drove his papacy. In his concluding chapter, Phayer states, “Pius XII’s obsession with communism is the key to understanding his papacy.” And you do know Pheyer withdrew the charge of Papal silence? He concluded in a later book:

            “Pius XII did not keep silent.”

            Got that:

            “Pius XII did not keep silent.”

            He still maintains the Pope should have done more – but doesn’t say what he could have done. And he hangs on the unsubstantiated claim and that his cautious approach was fear of communism and a desire to protect the institutional Church and the Vatican buildings.

            http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=3309772

          • Anton

            If you are going to condemn a book in a public forum, there is some merit in reading it first. Phayer believes that anti-communism is the key to the political acts of Pius’ papacy. I believe that it explains a good deal but not everything, and that it is not the only motivation to take into account when looking at every action.

            I have Phayer’s book before me and his change of mind mentioned in that review is about Pius and the Jews, not Pius and the Polish Catholics, which is what we have been discussing. Since you raise the former issue, let us look at Pius’ 1942 Christmas message, since closer study of that issue is what caused Phayer to change his mind about whether Pius kept silent. Phayer also wrote that this was Pius’ only public pronouncement about the Holocaust, and brings evidence to bear that Pius had planned to say more but changed his mind for the reasons given. So, in Pius’s only public mention of this atrocity, what did he actually say? Here is an English translation of his 45-minute message:

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P12CH42.HTM

            Here is the section in question, with the relevant sentence in bold:

            Mankind owes that vow to the countless dead who lie buried on the field of battle: The sacrifice of their lives in the fulfillment of their duty is a holocaust offered for a new and better social order. Mankind owes that vow to the innumerable sorrowing host of mothers, widows and orphans who have seen the light, the solace and the support of their lives wrenched from them. Mankind owes that vow to those numberless exiles whom the hurricane of war has torn from their native land and scattered in the land of the stranger; who can make their own the lament of the Prophet: “Our inheritance is turned to aliens; our house to strangers.” Mankind owes that vow to the hundreds of thousands of persons who, without any fault on their part, sometimes only because of their nationality or race, have been consigned to death or to a slow decline. Mankind owes that vow to the many thousands of non-combatants, women, children, sick and aged, from whom aerial war-fare—whose horrors we have from the beginning frequently denounced—has without discrimination or through inadequate precautions, taken life, goods, health, home, charitable refuge, or house of prayer. Mankind owes that vow to the flood of tears and bitterness, to the accumulation of sorrow and suffering, emanating from the murderous ruin of the dreadful conflict and crying to Heaven to send down the Holy Spirit to liberate the world from the inundation of violence and terror.

            Now, Pius did not even mention the Jews by name, or the Nazis; the sentence in question with its reference to “nationality or race” brackets Jews together with members of every nation attacked by the Nazis; then it brackets them together with five other categories of sufferer including those who have lost their homes and the mothers of combatants. And that is the high point of Pius’s public complaint about the Holocaust. Let readers weigh these words for themselves.

            I wrote: A Roman aristocrat like Pius is going to see those things as the crown jewels of 2000 years and priorities them incredibly highly – witness his endless conversations with Allied diplomats seeking guarantees that they would not be bombed. You replied: “That’s just assertion and rather nasty speculation. Given the possibility of a positive outcome for being more overtly and openly hostile to Nazism, Jack is sure the Pope would have risked the Vatican buildings. But what positive outcome would follow? You don’t actually say.”

            What you call speculation is the kind of inference from evidence that goes on in courtrooms daily. What are your reasons for your certainty that the Pope would have risked the Vatican buildings?

            As for positive outcomes, I didn’t give any in my immediately preceding post to which you replied, but I have said it to you on the previous thread. To repeat: Had Pius XII spoken out loud and clear against the Holocaust, had he called on German Catholics not to take part or warned them that it was a mortal sin, what might have happened? Catholics dwell on the increased persecution of Catholics and Jews by Nazis in the dioceses of Catholic bishops who spoke out, but ignore other plausible consequences. Nazi persecution of a Pope would have been likely to change the attitudes of previously friendly Catholic neutrals such as anti-British Ireland, fascist Spain and Latin America, all having strategically crucial coastlines that could have been made available to the Allies. The Pope, uniquely, could reach into the hearts of many of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s troops. Italy might have switched sides sooner. If the war had ended earlier then the Iron Curtain would have fallen further east, and many fewer Jews would have perished in the Holocaust.

            No, I don’t know for sure. But neither do you.

          • Nope …. no withdrawal. Jack cannot find his references so you’ll just have to accept or reject them. It really matters not.
            Jack hasn’t bothered to read the bulk of this post. You have no case against Pius XII – either with regard to the Jews or the Polish Church. So he overruled the Polish request because he was focussing the wider European situation. That’s what leaders have to do.
            You criticise the Pope without offering an alternative strategy and accuse him of being motivated by wanting to protect buildings rather than accepting his actual focus was on minimising the deaths of both Catholics and Jews. Yet, there is no evidence for this assertion. None.
            So what if the Nazis threatened to bomb the Vatican? And your ‘evidence’ for this is rather thin.
            This assumption of bad faith on the part of Pius actually says more about you than it does the Pope.

          • Anton

            “Jack hasn’t bothered to read the bulk of this post.”

            Ah, you’re conceding without admitting it.

          • Conceding? This isn’t a game. You have maligned Pope Pius XII without evidence and Jack is simply tired of all this nonsense.

          • Anton

            There is no implication in the phraseology that this is a game. You are conceding the argument and, as you have admitted yourself, it is you who have proven yourself unable to provide evidence.

          • Not so …
            On the substantive point you raised of Pius’ silence even your own source has withdrawn this charge. All you have presented is assertion and speculation based on hostility towards the Papacy and the Catholic Church as an institution.
            Most significant of all in all this is your failure to offer a viable alternative approach to the one he adopted. Is this because there isn’t one? Any other strategy would have resulted in greater carnage both in Poland and across Europe for Catholics and for Jews.

          • Anton

            But you don’t know what evidence I’ve presented, do you? You said yourself that you hadn’t read my earlier post.

          • Jack skimmed it … It was all speculative. You concede it here: “What you call speculation is the kind of inference from evidence that goes on in courtrooms daily.” Yet the “evidence” is so weak as to be laughable and actually countered by the Pope’s actual conduct. Not good enough when your accusing a man of grievously sinning by placing buildings above morality. It’s called bearing false witness and is a serious sin itself.

            And as for your speculation that had Pius XII spoken out more robustly and called Catholics on pain of mortal sin to stand against the Nazis, then Ireland, Italy, Spain and Latin America would have become hostile to Nazi Germany and joined the Allies – you’re having a laugh. Don’t you imagine the Vatican considered this? You want to place million of German Catholics in the frontline on the basis of a hunch?

          • Anton

            Counterfactual history cuts both ways: I cant be certain, you can’t be certain. You now call what I am doing speculation while pretending to certainty yourself, and I’m exposing the tactic. I also made specific points and you are reverting to a general rebuttal, which is one thing that people do when they can’t refute the specifics.

            Pius had no nerve for diplomatic poker. He folded.

          • Anton

            Counterfactual history cuts both ways: I can’t be certain, you can’t be certain. You now call what I am doing speculation while pretending to certainty yourself. That speaks for itself.

            Regarding Pius’ response to the Nazi atrocities against the Roman Catholic church in Poland, you have edited one of your recent posts to offer this website

            http://www.catholicleague.org/the-catholic-church-and-the-holocaust-1930-1965/

            which states

            The pope raised the issue in his Easter and Christmas messages in 1940 and 1941, in articles in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, as well as in the first encyclical of his pontificate, Summi Pontificatus. In a March 1940 confrontation with Joachim von Ribbontrop, Hitler’s foreign minister, Pius XII read to him in German a detailed report on Nazi atrocities in Poland aimed at both the Church and the Jews. That meeting received in depth coverage in the New York Times.

            Pius did speak out publicly about this persecution in January 1940, but Phayer suggests that he was cowed into not speaking out publicly about it any more as a result of Hitler’s threats to the Vatican (which he specifies) not long after. The audience with Ribbentrop was private and reached the media by unusual means. Summi Pontificatus was in 1939. So we have Pius’ Easter 1940 and 1941 messages, his Christmas 1940 and 1941 messages and L’Osservatore Romano to check. It is up to you to find Pius’ words, as you say they disprove my claim of silence (and you now even know where to look); but here is his Easter 1941 address

            https://www.jewishvirtuallibra

            and it indicates that the review is not particularly accurate, as there is no mention of persecution of any specific set of Christians and Pius does not mention Poland at all.

            Let me be clear: I have never accused Pius XII of malice or cowardice regarding his own skin, and I regard his actions toward the Jews of Rome as those of a dutiful bishop. But I believe he was a no.2 by temperament who was simply not up to being Pope at such a demanding time. It was made more difficult for him by being the earthly head of an unscriptural hierarchical church system, which necessarily had its centre in one location and acted as an Achilles’ heel that could be played on by enemies such as Hitler.

          • “Let me be clear: I have never accused Pius XII of malice or cowardice regarding his own skin.. “
            No, maybe not but you’ve accused him of losing his moral compass)
            “I regard his actions toward the Jews of Rome as those of a dutiful bishop …”
            Only made possible because the Vatican was left standing.
            “But I believe he was a no.2 by temperament who was simply not up to being Pope at such a demanding time.”
            Evidence? He was an outstanding Pope.
            “It was made more difficult for him by being the earthly head of an unscriptural hierarchical church system, which necessarily had its centre in one location and acted as an Achilles’ heel that could be played on by enemies such as Hitler.”
            Simple prejudice and assertion and unsubstantiated.
            You’re still accusing him of putting the institutional Church and the Vatican buildings above human life. To do so would be immoral. And even if he were unsuited the position of Pope at this time which, again, you cannot evidence, the Vatican Curia is there to serve the Pope and offer him both temporal and spiritual guidance.

          • Anton

            “maybe not but you’ve accused him of losing his moral compass”

            We agree I’m doing that. We disagree as to whether I’ve provided telling evidence. Readers may peruse this dialogue and decide for themselves.

          • Indeed they can.

  • dannybhoy

    Oh I forgot to offer my thanks to the ArchBishop for posting on this subject. God bless you sir.

    • dannybhoy
      • One question concerning the Archbishops talk: are we specifically commemorating Jewish persecution by Hitler today and the 6 million exterminated or all of man’s inhumanity to man?

        • Uncle Brian

          There’s something odd there, Jack. “Judaism” is one of the five tag words listed at the foot of the page, and yet it occurs nowhere in Welby’s statement. Nor does the word “Jew” or “Jewish.” What is going on here, I wonder.

          • Interesting observations, Brian. To commemorate the Shoah without mentioning Judaism or Jews is very odd indeed. Very odd.

          • dannybhoy

            I see you all picked up on what I noticed when I first read it.
            As I am often critical of the Anglican Church, (not for what it says it believes so much as for what it doesn’t practice), I thought I’d invite comments…
            Personally I thought it was morally devious. The mark of an organisation that has abandoned principle and embraced appeasement.

      • carl jacobs

        That was a very “inclusive” speech designed not to ruffle any feathers. Say, for example, Muslim feathers – which might get ruffled if the Jews were singled out for special remembrance. Because you know Palestine is a “Holocaust” as well.

        Sniveling appeasement.

  • Inspector General

    Making a relevant point here. Even if wartime British Military Intelligence took the reports of the extermination camps seriously, and many in it did not due to the idea’s incredulity, considering it at the time as hyperbolic propaganda against the NAZIs, they couldn’t have done much about it. The camps were too remote for the RAF to bomb, even if the will was there, as to destroy the things would also consume the innocent condemned inside.

    If you want to stop a future country from deciding part of its population is surplus to requirements and decides to kill them on an industrial scale by the thousands and millions, you’d better have a submarine out there loaded with nuclear weapons targeted at the regimes capital. Because you can verbally object all you like and even apply sanctions, but if they are prepared to go down that route, they’re not going to desist unless you can threaten the unthinkable…

  • Phil R

    “The Holocaust was possible because the humanity of the rejected was
    stripped away from them as it was, is, and always will be from the
    unwanted, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, wherever we are in the world.”

    The Holocaust was possible because Darwin and the consequential enthusiasm for eugenics in the 1920s and 30s gave the Nazis the rationale they needed.

    I once visited Belsen. What everyone seems to forget was that tens of thousands of Russian POWs also were starved to death in Belsen. They were considered “less human” as they had not “evolved” as far as the Aryan people.

    Before we say “how terrible” think about how we continue to kill millions for convenience and because the condemned are “not properly human”.

    • DanJ0

      6 million dead because someone misunderstood the alternative title of Darwin’s book.

      • Inspector General

        Will let you into a secret, DanJ0. This business about the murderous nature of that regime being blamed on Darwin. It’s so much rot. You see, sociologists, those of this modern ‘science’, cannot comprehend the existence of sheer evil. There has to be a reason for it. Anything will do, they will tell you…

        • DanJ0

          There was more than a touch of sarcasm in my comment.

          • Inspector General

            Not really the subject for sarcasm…

        • The Explorer

          Well, in ‘The Descent of Man’ Darwin did say that the higher races would exterminate the lower races. He didn’t say that they ought to, merely that they would. He didn’t say who the lower races were, as I recall, but he gave pretty clear hints, and he certainly didn’t include the Jews.

          • Dreadnaught

            Most of the OT ‘prophets’ claimed the same sort of thing to whoever was in their crosshairs.

          • The Explorer

            The prophets inveighed against moral depravity. They didn’t liken their enemies to baboons and gorillas. I’ve tracked it down now, and Darwin does specify the races he has in mind. Part 1, Ch 6, the section ‘On the Birthplace and Antiquity of Man’; if you care to check it out.

          • Phil R
          • The Explorer

            It is. Thank you.

          • Dreadnaught

            The prophets inveighed against moral depravity

            Phew that’s a relief: I thought for one moment they may have been just a bunch of genocidal nutters.

          • Dreadnaught

            Part 1, Ch 6, the section ‘On the Birthplace and Antiquity of Man’; if you care to check it out.

            Which I did. Far from specifying ‘races’ as you infer, he mentions what is now the African Continent , as the location of the source of the earliest fossil record of early proto-humans. He concludes by saying:

            And as man from a genealogical point of view belongs to the Catarrhine or Old World stock, we must conclude, however much the conclusion may revolt our pride, that our early progenitors would have been properly thus designated. (16. Haeckel has come to this same conclusion. See ‘Uber die Entstehung des Menschengeschlechts,’ in Virchow’s ‘Sammlung. gemein. wissen. Vortrage,’ 1868, s. 61. Also his ‘Naturliche Schopfungsgeschicte,’ 1868, in which he gives in detail his views on the genealogy of man.) But we must not fall into the error of supposing that the early progenitor of the whole Simian stock, including man, was identical with, or even closely resembled, any existing ape or monkey.

            The last sentence is particularly avoided by those when assessing Darwin’s alleged contribution to the ‘thinking’ behind the Holocaust.

          • The Explorer

            “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.” Page 183 of my Penguin edition.

            “The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.” Page 184 of my Penguin edition. Unless I’ve misunderstood it (which is possible, but understandable) he’s saying they’re one up from a gorilla.

            As you point out, he said other things as well, but anyone wanting a justification for genocide could find it by focusing on the bit I’ve quoted and ignoring anything contrary. I imagine the fate of the Herero was determined by exactly the quoted passage.

          • Dreadnaught

            In using the word ‘allies’ Darwin was referring to primates associated with the lineage of Homo Sapiens. It is important to recognise the context.

          • The Explorer

            Fair point; although the context was presumably not apparent to General von Trotha.

          • Dreadnaught

            He’s not the only one. 😉

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Alfred Russel Wallace was quite the opposite in attitude to the non-European people he encountered.

            He is still held in high regard in the part of Indonesia where he worked.

          • “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.”

            I expect he came up with this theory to explain away the absence of living intermediate forms on earth.

            http://www.0095.info/en/index_thesesen_95onesentencethesesagainste_mutationandtheincreaseofinf.html

      • Dreadnaught

        I was about to make my own comment but decided not to divert attention from the solemnity now recognised, by trading meaningless insults with an ‘idiot’ that would have been a prime candidate for the attention of Nazis in the early days of the bid for racial purity had he been around at the time.

        • Phil R

          So glad that you decided not to comment and trade meaningless insults……

          It must be so difficult, you being such a superior being and all….

      • carl jacobs

        Since there is no truth to constrain understanding, the winners by definition determine it.

        Life in the Naked Dead Universe …

  • DanJ0

    The Holocaust Memorial thingy on BBC2 has some very moving bits. Someone played the Theme from Schindler’s List on a violin earlier, which I think is an astonishing, emotive, beautiful, and almost unbearable piece of modern music. A young Jewish man with a fabulous voice also sang a memorial for the dead.

    At 46:25
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06yrds7/holocaust-memorial-day-2016

    • prompteetsincere

      ‘Yerushalayim Shel Zahav’/’Jerusalem of Gold’ – is the composition.

  • carl jacobs

    It’s sad this thread was immediately infected with those with nothing to say but “The Jews were killed because they were killers. Not that they deserved it, of course. But in fact they did. If only they hadn’t been so provocative, we wouldn’t have had to kill them.”

    It’s absolutely amazing what people will seek to justify.

    • Dreadnaught

      Does it get wide coverage on your side of the great water?

      • carl jacobs

        You mean this Holcaust Memorial Day? I did not know about it until this post.

        • Dreadnaught

          Amazing. It is founded on liberation day of Auzw if you didnt already know btw.

          • Inspector General

            When the American’s liberated Dachau, some of the captured guards were machine gunned by a young soldier disgusted by what he had come across. We are supposed to consider that a ‘war crime’….

          • Dreadnaught

            You mean in the same ways UK lawyers are scumming for business from Iraqis against British soldiers …

          • dannybhoy

            That is absolutely despicable. I understand that the government has moved to stop this disgusting business.
            What happened to servicemen being tried by their oficers?

          • Anton

            The government has SAID it will do something. I’ve heard that one before from this Prime Minister, but we can hope that he will match word with deed.

          • dannybhoy
          • Dreadnaught

            We weren’t hidebound by PC in those days, otherwise he most certainly would.

          • carl jacobs

            It was stopped fairly quickly. And it wasn’t so much rage as ignorance and lack of communucation. In addition, the SS members weren’t necessarily camp guards. Dachau was a big SS compound only one part of which was the Camp. IIRC those SS members were in the SS hospital on the compound.

            Of course, they were still SS. You will notice I couldn’t call them soldiers. All in all, I guess you shouldn’t just stand people up against a wall and shoot them. But … Nuremberg was a highly superfluous activity in my opinion. There was a better way.

          • Inspector General

            It’s called victor’s summary justice. There are of course, no rules in war. That is why it is called war…

          • carl jacobs

            There are rules. And I feel confident that an organization like the 30th Infantry Division could have been empowered to establish sufficient rules of due process to deal with the SS. Especially above a certain rank.

            But the lawyers had to get involved …

          • Inspector General

            They also handed out small arms to the prisoners to enact their own revenge on the guards, so it was said. One does LIKE that…

          • Anton

            That was the case before the Geneva Convention, but I actually agree with your point that war is the bottom line. Churchill secretly planned to use gas on the beaches if the Germans landed, I believe. I have no objection.

          • Anton

            Well said. Some of the charges invented at Nuremberg were complete bullshit: “crimes against humanity” and, worse, “crimes against peace”. As a direct result of Nuremberg we now have something absurd called “International Law” although enforcement of law is by State. There are only international treaties. Stalin was right, for once, about what to do instead of Nuremberg.

          • Inspector General

            Ah yes, the 30000. But then, Stalin wasn’t too keen on the heads of odious regimes being put on public trial, now was he…

          • Ivan M

            It was 50,000 . FDR joked that he would settle for 49,000. Churchill had one of his by then ineffectual access of conscience and sulked that it goes against English principles. If there was one truth that was established beyond all doubt at Nuremberg; it is that if you crushed a man’s testicles, he would confess to anything.

          • dannybhoy

            Did that young soldier (and by assocation the US government), get hounded by your equivalent of our Phil Shiner?
            Or did non avaricious commonsense prevail?
            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11442574/Al-Sweady-file-exposes-the-smearing-of-British-soldiers.html

          • carl jacobs

            I knew “late January 1945.” I didn’t know the date.

          • dannybhoy

            Your General Eisehhower had the US Signals Corp make films about what was found in the concentration camps and these were used in the Nuremburg trials..
            You can watch it here if you want, but you may not want to.

        • Hi Carl

          In Israel, the shoah is remembered and called Yom HaShoah , which this year is in May:

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_HaShoah

          I think the January events came via the UN :

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Holocaust_Remembrance_Day

          In the UK , The Muslim council of Great Britain refused from 2001 to 2007 to take part because they wanted to it to be more inclusive of all genocide , included in that they wanted Palestinians , but to exclude the Armenians because it :

          “totally excludes and ignores the ongoing genocide and violation of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere” and that “It includes the controversial question of alleged Armenian genocide as well as the so-called gay genocide.”

          They again decided to boycott the official events in 2009.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_Memorial_Day_(UK)

          • carl jacobs

            Shocked I am, Hannah. Shocked to the core of my existence that they refused to participate. But perhaps I am biased by knowledge of Muslim plans in 1948.

          • Anton

            Jamal Husseini, the Palestinian Arab leader, candidly told the UN Security Council during the fighting (16th April 1948): “The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight.”

    • chiefofsinners

      Infected is the right term. They do say the Zika virus is causing people to be born with small heads.

      • The Explorer

        Your G theory may have failed, by the way, if you look at the bottom of the thread. It may yet come true in the fullness of time.

        • chiefofsinners

          Findarato, you mean?
          Anyone Smellarato?

          • carl jacobs

            Let’s not jump the gun…

          • The Explorer

            I did say ‘may have’ not ‘has’. I also said guest posts bring one-off contributors.

          • carl jacobs

            And that is the correct attitude. What is Jack’s phrase? “You have done well, Grasshopper.” 😉

          • He has indeed.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes, but look at the pompous verbosity, the self obsession.

          • …. and Jack will eat his hat.

          • Hi

            You can’t ditch the wig: it’s a retro fashion statement! (:

          • It’s Linus ….

          • William Lewis

            Carl, last time you said that most of us had already crossed the finish line.

            🙂

          • The Explorer

            HJ, Carl, Pubcrawler.

          • Anton

            A plea: please write such that if Findarato is not who you suspect then you will not have done him any injustice.

          • The Explorer

            I’m treating the points he makes according to their merits, regardless of who it might be making them.

          • Anton

            Sorry Explorer, I didn’t mean to single you out; I meant it as a general plea, but I had to reply to someone on the subthread and the lot fell on you, as it were.

          • Pubcrawler

            Nothing particularly yet to set off my ‘Spidey sense’. ‘Bob’ I had on day 2 (a little forensic linguistics).

          • William Lewis

            Our resident rodent reincarnated, without a doubt. No need to wait for him start getting ratty.

    • CliveM

      Weasel words, hiding evil intent. I agree.

  • William Lewis

    Thank you, Brother Ivo, for a moving and thoughtful piece.

  • dannybhoy

    It’s beginning to sound like a badly written episode of Miss Marples…

    • The Explorer

      Linus’ motive as I understand it.

      He’s gay. Christians have denied rights to gays. Gays have achieved equality since Christianity lost its influence on society. Linus wants to ensure that gays retain their status by ensuring Christianity never regains its influence. So he attacks a Christian site to undermine it, and in the hope that he drives a few adherents into atheism, or at least into doubt.

      He keeps deleting his old identity because people become resistant to him. He thus gives the same ideas again, as new, under a new persona.

      The flaw in his thinking, as I understand it, is his under-rating of Islam: if Islam rather than secularism fills the position vacated by Christianity.

      • preacher

        Well brother if it is the same person & he hopes to capture a few into the dark hopeless world of secularism & atheism, he’s on the wrong site. Anyone who can be persuaded by the likes of the atheist view cannot really be a Christian believer.
        There are many things that we can point to as evidence for our faith, but basically atheism is blind, it would rather live in the dark than change. It is a sad negative hopeless thing that steals hope from all. Hope for the future, hope for eternity & hope for humanity. To do so it has to deny the complexity of creation & thus the inescapable need for a creator – God.
        Many who write here have been atheists or held similar beliefs often for much of their lives, but by the grace of God & their own honesty they have admitted their error & found ( Often to their own surprise & delight ) the thing they had been looking for. Who would wish to revert to blindness having received their sight ?.
        Genuine searchers are always welcome, but those that seek to disrupt or destroy will find no takers here.
        The evidence of the prayer shawls of Auschwitz show that the Jewish victims of the holocaust had amazing faith, in a time of terrible persecution. May God bless those that died & those that survived.
        Without the Jews we Christians would not be included in the redeemed hosts of the Lord as Jesus was Jewish & most of the early Church who spread the gospel hailed from the same stock of Abraham.

      • dannybhoy

        “He keeps deleting his old identity because people become resistant to him.”
        It’s the “Linus Virus..”

  • IanCad

    Yesterday was for weeping, and the affirmation that Israel’s unofficial motto “Never Again” will be upheld by the rest of humanity.

    Well, not quite all. To drive them into the sea is the desire of most of the State of Israel’s neighbours.

    Neither should we forget that the German’s of Hitler’s day were not an aberration. Let’s face it, they were far too “cultured” weren’t they?

    Hitler was the devil behind it all we say.

    Today is as good as any to remind ourselves of the quite dreadful Kaiser Wilhelm 2nd. Of sturdy German character, remembered as the defeated leader during WW1. Not a bad chap we think.

    It didn’t start with Adolph. The wood-chopping, country loving Kaiser had a certain disdain for the Children of Israel.

    (The Jews) – “a nuisance that humanity must get rid of some way or other. I believe the best thing would be gas!”

    The Kaiser And His Court p. 210 by John Rohl.

    There must be something in the waters of Central and Eastern Europe.

    • Anton

      The dark waters of the human soul, actually. Manifest in Central and Eastern Europe simply because that’s where Jews comprised a significant proportion of the population.

      • IanCad

        I’m not so sure Anton. We deviled the Jews with the best of them during the Middle Ages but since Cromwell’s time have somewhat redeemed ourselves.
        Things were much different in Europe. The “Pales of Settlement” contrived to exclude and distinguish the Jewish peoples. In effect, establishing separate political and social entities within the various countries, despite which these excluded folk thrived and thus became targets of greed and jealousy.
        Bradford and Rotherham spring to mind, albeit, without the attendant prosperity.
        No, we are not Germans or Eastern Europeans or Muslims. This land is still a bastion of liberty, although for how much longer, none can tell.

        • Anton

          Rotherham isn’t a good analogy. The Jews never raped 1000 eastern European women in one town in one generation. But yes, shamefully Edward I is up there with Fernando and Isabella of Spain and Manuel of Portugal in fleecing and then expelling the Jews of his country. In retrospect my punchline was in my first rather than second sentence of the post to which you replied.

          • IanCad

            For which the light of the Gospel should be sufficient. Sadly, not so, it appears.

          • CliveM

            It’s probably worth mentioning that France under Napoleon was the first European country to give Jews full citizenship.

            Sadly it is today not the safest place for Jews. A malign side effect of Muslim immigration.

    • CliveM

      He did say during WW2 that the Nazis policies towards the Jews were shameful and he did have (secular) Jewish friends. Provided they were wealthy enough. But he was anti Semitic.

  • sarky

    Cant believe that the majority of the top of this thread is taken with whether or not Linus is back. Seriously disrespectful.

    • The Explorer

      Not the only thing you can’t believe: despite the evidence.

      • sarky

        Sorry, not the place for this.

        • The Explorer

          Then watch your wording.

      • CliveM

        He may have a point.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      If you mean disrespectful to the subject matter, I would agree with you. More generally, though, the way it clutters up the thread meaning more scrolling through the Disqus system, I find it a poen yn y rhefr.

    • The Explorer

      Don’t forget that the thread is not chronological. What appears at the top can in fact be a footnote, and the serious discussion can be in the middle (although it was at the top when it started.)

      • sarky

        Bit old for ‘he started it’ aren’t we?

        • The Explorer

          No. Not if it’s true.

        • Pubcrawler

          Says the arch exponent of the ‘tu quoque’…

        • dannybhoy

          Sarky,
          your determination to criticise Christians and Christianity, to have a dig, to be contrary will not serve you well in the end.
          Gd is not mocked.

          • sarky

            I can categorically state I have never mocked Gd.

          • dannybhoy

            But you do.
            Jesus said,
            Luke 5>
            “31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
            32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

            The Bible makes it quite clear that God loves all men, even the weak and despised. We know that Christians fail, that is why our Lord told us we must forgive our brothers and sisters.
            Your continual sniping means that you are better or know better. From the perspective of the God of the Bible, we are either a part of the problem or we are a part of the solution…

          • CliveM

            He’s trying to be funny about you typing Gd not God.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah.

          • Oh, I thought Danny was spelling God like a lot of orthodox jews ….Gd or G-d

          • CliveM

            Maybe he was, I suspect Sarky wouldn’t realise that though.

          • dannybhoy

            Oy vey!
            Not when I’m addressing an irreligious shagetz Hannahle..

          • sarky

            I have no biblical perspective, so it’s just your perception.

          • dannybhoy

            If you have no Biblical perspective by what criteria do you judge Christians and Christianity?

  • dannybhoy

    (Chuckles)
    If that makes you happy…
    In the meantime I’ll go see if i can find any…

  • Hi

    Yesterday was painful, as reflecting and remembering the Shoah is , but today we can think about the glimmer of light, because the Shoah was not the end and Jews are still here. We rebuilt in the diaspora and also have our country back . We have done amazing things there, continuing the process already begun by Zionists who had turned malaria infested swamps to agricultural lands.

    Desert into forest, wineries in the desert , the ability to absorb refugees from Europe and the middle east (with different cultures, as painful as that was as Jews began to build a non diaspora community) , the rebuilding of the religious Yeshivahs and kollels, at the universities , scientific and technological breakthroughs that bring benefit to all of humanity. And above all the continuation of Judaism and Jewishness , the passing down and continuing of the mesorah.

    So no Hitler and the antisemities lost. Jews are still here , although this narrative is via a background of the threat of constant warfare, terrorism and elimination. Sadly by the same token antisemitism is still here . For example on Christmas day last year, ISIS released a, “Message to the Mujahedin in Jerusalem,” in which the group called for beheadings and included :

    ‘The Jew thought that we forgot about Palestine and diverted our attention from it: Never, Jews! We have not forgotten Palestine for a moment… Palestine will not be your land or your home: It will be a graveyard for you. Allah has gathered you in Palestine so that the Muslims may kill you: With Allah’s help, Allah willing’.

    As brother ivo notes the next-generation of Jews continue the mesorah. And on a pertinent note -because the Shoah did not end the Jewstory – who are not afraid of being Jewish or of being Israeli, will defend themselves and the state, but also in a very Jewish way have fun, in song and dance :

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HsE1cAKM4Yc

    • IanCad

      Joyful and delightful Hannah.
      Just make sure to keep your powder dry.

    • dannybhoy

      God will protect His people Israel Hannah, and His purposes will be realised.

  • dannybhoy

    A petition I signed recently re the persecution of Christians as an act of genocide..
    In light of this thread I hope many of you will also sign it..
    http://citizengo.org/en/pr/32625-un-and-eu-must-recognise-crime-genocide-against-christians-iraq