Christians who viewed “Holocaust” on television April 16–19 had a vivid reminder of the depravity of man. There are numerous important questions raised by the systematic murder of six million Jewish civilians as well as many non-Jews by German forces during World War II. A reflective reading or rereading of the article by Helmut Thielicke, “Why the Holocaust,” together with the response to it by three American evangelicals in our January 27 issue (p. 8 and p. 14), is highly recommended.
A question that needs to be earnestly asked is, What should we be doing now to prevent such atrocities? Or, if they cannot be totally prevented, in view of the evil that is in man, what should we be doing to ameliorate them? At the very least, what can Christians be doing to avoid as much participation as they can in mass slavery and torture and murder? This is no hypothetical question, for violent atrocities in Uganda, Cambodia, and many other places are going on even now. And the cruelty of treating whole ethnic groups as inferior, a necessary prelude to the kind of “final solution” that the Nazis attempted, is globally pervasive.
It is fitting to evaluate the television series as an artistic presentation of one of the more horrible deeds of recorded history (see Refiner’s Fire, p. 36). One can also study from countless sources and perspectives what can be known of the event itself. But one dare not stop with aesthetic and historical evaluations. What can be learned from the Holocaust that something like it may happen, in the words of militant Jews, “never again”?
Ironically, those who so wish to magnify the horrors of the Holocaust that they stress its uniqueness are saying, in effect, that we can learn nothing from it. We can learn about ...1
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