Pastor Peter Colon, D.Min.
“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile”
I recently attended the Christian Leadership Seminar conference at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. The Christian Friends of Yad Vashem (CFYV), which hosts the conference, does a wonderful job educating Christians about the Holocaust.
One session focused on Holocaust Revisionism, the contemporary, anti-Semitic movement that denies what the Nazis did to the Jewish people during World War II. Holocaust Revisionists refute that 6 million Jewish people were murdered, claiming the numbers are exaggerated. Their propaganda contends that gas chambers and crematoriums were never used to kill people and that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis never planned to exterminate all of European Jewry.
According to them, the Holocaust is a lie fabricated by the Jewish people themselves. Unfortunately, the Internet provides a convenient forum for these deniers to spew their absurdities, misleading and confusing people around the world.
Therefore, they must be confronted. We serve “a God of truth” (Deuteronomy 32:4) whose “word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Just as an old Jewish saying goes, “the seal [literally, the signature] of the Holy One, blessed be he, is truth” (Talmud, Shabbat 55a).
“Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed
and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive
with thee shall perish” (Isaiah 41:11).
To determine the truth, CFYV taught us to consider the “convergence of evidence.” To establish a case for guilt or innocence in a court of Law, one must collect pieces of evidence from various sources. The same method should be applied to the Holocaust.
The consensus among genuine historians is that 5.1 to 6.4 million Jewish people perished at the hands of the Nazis. The most common figure- 6 million-is conservative, within a 10 percent margin of error. Many believe the actual number is much higher.
Experts reached their figures by comparing the Jewish population before the war with demographic information after the war. They collected records from towns and villages where censuses were and consulted Jewish birth and death certificates.
In fact, in October the CBS News program 60 Minutes aired a segment about French-Catholic priest Patrick Desbois who has been on a 15-year-long quest to uncover undocumented sites where there were wholesale Jewish massacres. So far he has interviewed more than 4,000 eyewitnesses who have led him to more than 1,700 areas in the former Soviet Union where Jewish people were murdered en mass and dumped into communal graves entirely invisible today. He is documenting the data thoroughly.
The Nazis themselves kept meticulous records of deaths in their camps and received reports from their organized killing squads. William Shirer (1904-1993), an American war correspondent and historian, who wrote, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," stated, “According to two S.S. [Schutzstaffel, or protection squadron] witnesses at Nuremberg the total was put at between five and six million by one of the most infamous Nazi experts on the subject, Karl Eichmann, chief of the Jewish Office of the Gestapo. 1
It was Karl Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962), who kept the trains rolling, deporting helpless Jewish men, women, and children from all over Europe to death camps. During his trial in Jerusalem in 1961, Eichmann never denied his participation in the Holocaust.
Though the Nazis treated their victims worse than animals, each victim was a unique, irreplaceable human being, created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26,27). As Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Judith Miller wrote, “We must remind ourselves that the Holocaust was not six million. It was one, plus one, plus one. 2
“If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it?
and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man
according to his works” (Proverbs 24:12)?
Deniers argue that gas chambers and crematoriums were used primarily to exterminate bugs and dispose of the bodies of those who died of natural causes. But Holocaust survivors have testified that the gas chambers and crematoriums were used as “machinery of mass murders.”
Nazis have even testified to this truth. One incriminating admission came from Rudolf Hoess, the longest-serving commandant of the infamous Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Hoess introduced the cyanide-based pesticide Zyklon B specifically to kill people.
Under interrogation, he was asked what happened to the Jews when they arrived at his camp. He replied, “They were not supposed to be employed in work there, but they were supposed to be exterminated...That order I received in mid year of 1941, I believe it was July, from the Reich’s Fuhrer SS [Himmler] in person.” When asked how the Jews were to be exterminated, Hoess replied, “by gas.” 3
Victims typically arrived by rail and were met by the SS-Totenkopfverbande, or “Death’s Head units,” and their collaborators. The Nazis told those selected for death they were going to be given showers, clean clothes, food and work assignments.
After undressing, victims were led into the “shower chamber,” which was made to look like a real shower. Once they were packed inside, the Nazis sealed the doors and dropped Zyklon B pellets into a small air vent above the chamber.
To drown out the screams of the dying, Nazi officers turned on the motor of a truck parked outside the chamber. Once the air in the chamber cleared, they dragged the bodies to a semicircular brick structure with huge smoke stacks, called the crematorium. The bodies were loaded onto sliding metal trays and slid into the ovens. The ashes then were scraped out and dumped into open pits.
Holocaust deniers also claim Jewish people were not specifically targeted. However, though Hitler’s regime murdered nearly 11 million civilians, at least 6 million of them were Jewish. The Jews were, in fact, singled out and slaughtered for the “offense” of being Jewish.
The historical facts concerning the Wannsee conference verify this truth. On January 20, 1942, a special conference was held at a two-story mansion, once owned by a Jewish family, in Wannsee near Berlin. Fifteen high ranking Nazi officials gathered to discuss a detailed protocol for how to carry out the “Final Solution” of the Jewish question.
Within 90 minutes, they had decided to round up Europe’s Jews from west to east and sent them to extermination camps. Ten days later, Hitler declared: "The result of this war will be the complete annihilation of the Jews… the hour will come when the most evil universal enemy of all time will be finished, at least [f]or a thousand years."4 On February 24, 1943, he also stated: "This struggle will not end with the annihilation of Aryan mankind, but with the extermination of the Jewish people in Europe.” 5
Patrick Desbois told CBS News correspondent Lara Logan he has no doubt Hitler’s goal was the extermination of European Jewry:
Father Desbois: The general order was to eliminate the last Jew, even the baby, even the old mommy. They
[the Nazis] never left anybody.
Lara Logan: So it was a policy of total annihilation.
Father Desbois: Total annihilation. And if Hitler didn’t lose the war, I think today will not be one Jew alive. 6
When I think about the Nazi atrocities, I remember Psalm 83: “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (vv.3-4).
It is profane to deny the reality of the Holocaust. Holocaust deniers and all anti-Semites should consider God’s involvement in Israel’s history and heed His stern warning concerning Israel’s enemies: “Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey” (Jeremiah 30:16).
Biblically, Jewish people are at the center of God’s work and plan for the ages. Through them the world received the Scriptures (Romans 9:4-5); and through them came the Savior, Jesus Christ, “in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).
The commemorative political slogan “Never Forget” originated in the late 1940s to remind the world the Holocaust must never happen again – to anybody. People must never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust and the 6 million Jewish people who lost their lives; and in a world where propaganda is a weapon of war, they must make it their business to be able to tell the difference between truth and fiction.
First published in Israel My Glory, Vol. 74, No. 2, March/April 2016, page 24, Copyrighted and used with Permission, Revised 2016
1. William L Shirer, The Rise and fall of the Third Reich, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1960), page 978
2. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Wisdom (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1994), page 563
3. David A Rausch, “A Legacy of Hatred”, (Chicago, IL: Moody 1984), 133.
4. “Responses to common Holocaust-denial claims, “Anti-Defamation league <tinyurl.com/qzgt547>.
6. The Hidden Holocaust,” 60 Minutes, October 4, 2015<cbsnews.com/news/hidden-holocaust- 60-minutes>.