Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army and today Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel asks some deep questions in an op-ed for the LA Times.
What made Auschwitz possible? How could a nation known for its culture
and education have dreamed up such a place? Why was the outside world
indifferent to Jewish suffering and agony? Why hadn’t the leaders of
the free world told us not to board the trains? Why had no one ever
mentioned to us the names of horror such as Treblinka and Maidanek,
Sobibor and Belzec, Chelmno and Auschwitz, all death factories destined
to implement Hitler’s Final Solution? Why was the Vatican still and
complacent? Why didn’t the Russians come a few days earlier? Why didn’t
the Allies bomb the railways leading to Birkenau, where, day after day,
night after night, 10,000 Jews were murdered in the most brutal ways
Most of the questions that I had 60 years ago when
I was first released from Buchenwald, and so many others, remain
unanswered. I would go further and say: That’s how it is, and that’s
how it must be. Even if there is an answer, I refuse to accept it.
Auschwitz is both interrogation and indictment. It represents a
watershed in history: There was a before and an after. It represents a
challenge to believers and nonbelievers alike.
conceive of Auschwitz with God or without God. Ever since, all
certainties need to be reexamined, all theories reevaluated.
All we know is that Auschwitz did not descend ready-made from heaven.
Human beings imagined it, built it, served it, used it against other
human beings. When all is said and done, it represents a grave
theological challenge to Christianity, an immoral abdication on the
part of humankind.
While Auschwitz certainly does represent an immoral abdication on the
part of humankind, that is vindication of Christian theology, not a challenge to it. Christianity is the one religion that accounts for the fact that men are not inherently good. It explains realistically the existence of radical human evil in the world.
Chuck Colson offers a good commentary on this today in reference to the atrocities that are being committed in the wake of the tsunami in Asia. The tragedy brought aid workers to the region, but it also brought predators who are abusing and exploiting the orphaned children. Non-Christian worldviews either explain this type of action away or ignore it all together while Christianity faces it head on. It is just one more reason to be convinced that Christianity is true.