“The one and only thing that matters to us, and the thing these people are paid for by the state, is to have ideas of history that strengthen our people in their necessary national pride. In all this troublesome business we are only interested in one thing–to project into the dim and distant past the picture of our nation as we envisage it for the future… Every bit of Tacitus in his Germania is tendentious stuff. Our teaching of German origins has depended for centuries on falsification. We are entitled to impose one of our own at any time.”
If we pull back the curtain of time to view what’s happening today, we understand the writer of Ecclesiastes to be absolutely correct in stating that “there is nothing new under the sun.” For instance, we know that Nazi leadership went to great lengths to maintain a public facade of rationality, fairness, and middle-class decency, but perhaps we’re not familiar with the actual extent to which they did so, deaf to the haunting echo of the duplication of that effort going on today.
To assist in the construction of the Nazi facade of moral and cultural legitimacy, Reichsfuhrer Himmler actively recruited German scholars and scientists who would command respect both at home and abroad and make Nazi ideas sound plausible and reasonable to others. The describes the formation of the Society For Research into the Spiritual Roots of Germany’s Ancestral Heritage, also known as the Ahnenerbe Institute, as being founded on July 1st, 1935 by Himmler. The institute was established to “study” certain aspects of Germany’s spiritual and cultural heritage. As Canadian journalist and science author Heather Pringle describes in her book, The Master Plan: Hitler’s Scholars and the Holocaust:
“The Ahnenerbe was an elite Nazi research institute that Himmler had founded in 1935 with a small group of associates… In reality, however, the elite organization was in the business of myth-making. Its prominent researchers devoted themselves to distorting the truth and churning out carefully tailored evidence to support the racial ideas of Adolf Hitler.” [p. 3]
Today, pseudo-academic historical revisionists questioning the reality of the Holocaust manipulate truth in much the same, concerted way, picking-up where the myth-making of the Ahnenerbe Institute left off. The Anti-Defamation League assesses the success of this hauntingly similar endeavor to confuse mythology with reality quite clearly: “Holocaust denial, which its propagandists misrepresent as ‘historical revisionism,’ has become one of the most important vehicles for contemporary anti-Semitism.”
To educate ourselves and our young people on the subject of the Holocaust then, should be seen as not only, not merely a moral imperative for the Christian Church in a post-Auschwitz world, but may be more rightly seen as a necessary act of teshuvah, a form of remedial repentance, that simultaneously functions as a potentially powerful form of impassioned resistance against the prevailing postmodern, leftist form of political anti-Semitism known as anti-Zionism. An insidious modern mutation of historic anti-Semitic ideology, anti-Zionism has successfully contaminated major segments of the liberal institutional Christian Church – those “progressive” organizations that form anti-Israel public policy based upon one-sided views of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
To remain silent, then, to not educate or demonstrate some credible form of resistance in the face of the existential threat facing Israel today might be likened to the passive formation of a kind of conceptual ghetto that holds one of the most powerful, redemptive, and godly witnesses of divine love for his people effectively hostage, when we might be demonstrating to the watching world what we’re capable of, what lengths we are willing to go to in order to love our neighbor.
We might begin work toward staging of a dramatic uprising within these self-imposed conceptual ghettos of the collective Western Christian conscience with the formation of an “educational revolt” within the collective intellect of the Church – through Holocaust education taking place in such “unlikely” places as our own congregations and churches. In this way, we would build a foundational state of readiness that translates with power and authority into the collective heart of the 21st century body of believers to inspire bold, provocative and meaningful action… an uprising of salt and light that engages the hearts and minds of those who follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, while passionately empowering a movement able to confront – before the eyes of the watching world – those who wrongly accuse Jacob for evil purpose.
Himmler’s Ahnenerbe Institute set out to propagate lies in order to bury the truth; we, as Christians, have been handed the opportunity to propagate truth in order to bury the lie of Holocaust denial and other forms of anti-Semitic propaganda, in His Name. What will we make of that opportunity? Last century, the Christian community chose to do little in defense of the lies being levied against the Jewish people, lies that ultimately led to the Final Solution. What will we do, what will you do, to confront the lies being levied against them today, in this century, at this very moment?
As it has been said by one who saw a previous storm of anti-Semitic hate coming and acted decisively to stop it:
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place…