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Israel & Christians Today

Biblical understanding about Israel

May 1, 2013

March of the Living - 2013

There is still a lot of snow in Auschwitz, Poland on April 8, 2013. Along the rusty railway from Auschwitz to Birkenau thousands of handwritten wooden signs in all sorts of languages, to commemorate the mass destruction that took place here. Moving, heart-rending texts, written by the youngest offspring of Holocaust survivors from all over the world, but especially from thousands of young Israeli people. Here and there, half covered by snow, a withered rose like a broken life lies between the rails. Following the railway through the notorious gatehouse to the Selection Point where the cattle wagons spitted out their loads, where Nazi doctors barked: “Right, right, left, left…” Heading for death straight into the gas chambers and the ovens, or some reprieve in the labor camps. In this place where injustice cries aloud to Heaven the rails are crossed by a road leading to endless rows of draughty barracks. This is the most notorious crossing in Poland and down the road the gas chambers with a capacity of twenty thousand human beings per day…

Here we are with our Christians for Israel International-group together with a group of Ukrainian pastors – led by our Christians for Israel Aliyah-fieldworker, Koen Carlier. Shuddering after our visit to the barracks of Auschwitz I with endless piles of suitcases – name and residence of the owners written in white chalk upon them – with heaps of numerous children’s shoes; with an unconceivable amount of 1950 kilograms of human hair, to be used in the German fashion industry; with thousands of wooden and metal artificial limbs and other prostheses which the victims would never need again…

The icy wind cutting through our clothes, our prayers cutting through our minds thinking of all these ordinary, innocent men, women and children, who met their death, here on this blood-soaked soil.
Our hearts cry and our thoughts are with them. Each of us prays with tear-stained cheeks, each in his or her own language: Ukrainian, Russian, and Dutch. Even though we cannot comprehend the atrocities human beings are capable of, the severe circumstances, famine, infectious diseases and exhaustion. Still, even after sixty-eight years, we in our own modest way, can witness this complete destruction.

A Holocaust survivor once told me that, to a certain extent, he was able to testify about the Nazi atrocities, especially to young people. But one aspect one is not able to pass on: the perception of time. The endless time that seems to stop in order to beat the logistical numbers and the worn out hope facing the desperate endlessness of all this suffering.

But we were allowed to witness life too! The life of all these young Israeli people demonstrating the existence of the State of Israel: Am Israel Chai - The nation of Israel lives!”

Jos van Westing
Christians for Israel International


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