The results of a new Holocaust study shock even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.
Their initial estimates anticipated roughly 7,000 ghettos and camps, but the study points to a staggering 42,500. They once believed nearly 6 million Jews and outcasts were murdered, but now they’re forced to increase it to the mind-numbing figure of 15 million to 20 million.
42,500 ghettos and camps. 15 million to 20 million murdered.
Numbers like these remind us that Hitler still speaks. His fiery oratory may have been silenced by his own hand, but the cavernous halls of history still echo with lessons from his brutal regime.
Hitler still speaks, reminding what an evil dictator truly looks like (and does not). The modern world purchased perspective from the Third Reich at the cost of 15 to 20 million lives. We squander our priceless inheritance by recklessly exchanging perspective for provocative. We trample the memory of 15-20 million victims every time we brand a despised politician ‘Hitler.’ Incendiary correlations (such as linking Nazi and US gun control laws) make great fodder for cable TV, but lack a basic understanding of history.*
And while I’m tempted to say, “Perhaps the greatest resemblance to Hitler today are those who mimic his propaganda tactics,” this is precisely the point. Comparing frustration with our political process to Jewish oppression is as offensive as empathizing with a starving African orphan because we skipped breakfast. And so Hitler still speaks, urging us to thank God for our current political leaders, to thank God we know nothing of the brutality of his democracy-devouring Third Reich. Hitler’s voice compels us to calm the rhetoric, find common ground, and daily thank God for our good fortune.
Hitler still speaks, prophetically warning us of the dangers of valuing ideology over life.
We live in a culture that values the ideology of freedom above all else, even the sanctity of life. And so the lost potential of 15 to 2o million Jews and other outcasts mirrors the lost potential of the 50+ million aborted little boys and girls. But unlike WWII Germany, we have no evil dictator to blame. Our democratic process remains intact, placing the blame not at the feet of our leaders, but squarely on the shoulders of our citizens.
Hitler still speaks about ideology’s limitless potential for destruction, his 42,500 camps providing a case study on the results of discriminating against a people based on their nationality, religion, or lifestyle. It’s a grievous irony indeed that WWII Jewish oppression is our primary motivation to relieve the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Furthermore, Hitler’s subjugation of homosexuals to the same Final Solution as the Jews cautions us from harming someone based on their sexuality, and reveals Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill for what it is.
Finally, Hitler still speaks, illuminating our powerful need for hope. Hitler’s power can be directly traced to his people’s hope. The citizens of post-WWI Germany were so desperate for hope that they blindly followed their Fuhrer to hell. The chilling reality of even just one lost life, let alone 15-20 million, reminds us why we crave hope. The Germans weren’t wrong to gamble everything for hope; their crime was chaining themselves to hell instead of heaven.
As bizarre as it seems, Hitler’s loudest message, his most enduring legacy, was to reinforce our universal need for the Jewish carpenter.
Hitler’s heinous crimes remind us of how tragically broken our world was, is, and will be, until the King of the Jews Hitler so despised returns to set all things right.
Hitler still speaks, providing perspective in politics, demonstrating the deceiving power of ideology, and ultimately giving voice to the central prayer of our lives,
“Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”