Holocaust

So much has been written on the Holocaust that even a brief commentary automatically seems irrelevant. What more can be said, and even if there is more who wants to hear it? The Holocaust has been so ingrained in our Western consciousness that we even have logical fallacies named for aspects of it.

It's sad that we have to clarify this now, but there are no Holocaust deniers at Exodus Books. Those of us who grew up before postmodernism had thoroughly supplanted modernism are probably more shocked to hear claims that the Holocaust never happened, but the younger generation have lived their whole lives in such a state of factlessness and relativity that they're probably not even sure Adolf Hitler was a real person.

Where does this attitude come from?You'd thinka view that pays so little respect to the millions who died in Nazi concentration camps would, if not in the name of human decency, at least in the name of political correctness besuppressed and ignored. But it's not disrespect that primarily motivates the deniers: it's really just the fruit of a much more dangerous denial.

At the heart of Holocaust denial is the really the denial of evil. Postmodernists would have us believe they've moved far beyond limiting modernist philosophies, but all they've really done is to amplify them and draw them out to their logical end. So just as the modernists deny human depravity, so postmodernists deny human depravity.

Postmodernists, however, go one step further: they deny depravity. They also deny a unified human nature, and therefore any bad thing that happens is simply an accident. But to think that evil on the scale of the Holocaust of the Jews by Nazi fascists to them is unacceptable, so rather than accept the idea of human depravity, they deny that conscious evil takes place.

One thing postmodernists have rejected from the modernist philosophy is the idea that facts are important (to the modernist, facts are everything). So proof for them is largely irrelevant, and to attempt to show them documentation to the contrary of their views is to talk to the air. They simply dismiss the facts, and walk around blind.

There are plenty of people, however, who do believe the Nazis rounded up and killed around 6 million Jews during the course of the Third Reich and World War II, but who nevertheless believe they themselves would never do anything of the sort. This fails to acknowledge two important truths: 1) We are all fallen, dead in our trespasses and sins and capable of any wickedness; and, 2) the average German (even those in the German army) weren't bloodthirsty maniacs hungering for Jewish blood.

For anyone who's read Hitler's Mein Kampf, it's obvious that for him the Jews were no more than a scapegoat. Consider the background: Germans had a long history of anti-Semitism, Hitler needed to mobilize the German people in a united cause so he could wage imperial war, and there were lots of Jews living in Germany.

This is by no means to suggest that Hitler wasn't a racist of the worst kind. He was; but he was also an opportunist, and he knew what would marshall the people behind him, so he used it effectively. If people had to be killed, starved, and tortured in their role as scapegoat, that was to be expected, just as long as they weren't Aryan Germans.

But Hitler rarely couched his anti-Semitism in outright racist terms. Mostly, he focused on convincing the German people that their troubles were due to interlopers (the Jews) whose selfishness and wrongdoing had brought about financial ruin and national misdirection within the Fatherland. The Final Solution? To get rid of those people who were responsible.

The people Hitler used to accomplish this purge were as regular as any of us. They were farmers, students, welders, assembly line workers, secretaries, shoe repairmen, and even kids. Their country was in trouble (economically depressed, shamed from their defeat in World War I, etc.), and they willingly united under a madman who was able to manipulate them by telling them what they wanted to hear.

Therewere worse genocides in the 20th century. Stalin killed far more Russians than Hitler killed Jews, and Mao's bodycount of Chinese was higher than Stalin's. But the point isn't who did it worst: the point is that these atrocities happen, and that it isn't crazy people that carry them out. The leaders may be insane, but their followers aren't, and that's far scarier.

Studying the Holocaust affords an occasion to drive home to our kids two essential points: that human evil is real and pervasive, and that without the restraining force of the Holy Spirit it would be much worse than it actually is. We can identify the Germans of the Third Reich as perpetrators of evil, but before we dismiss them as much different from ourselves, we must first come to terms with the fact of our own propensity for evil, and pray God to keep us from it.

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