"Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work makes one free)

Remembering the Holocaust



International Holocaust Remembrance Day was observed on January 27; the day in 1945 when the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp was liberated by Soviet forces. Countries throughout Europe respectfully remembered the Holocaust and expressed their determination to ensure that a similar tragedy did not happen again.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz , addressing an event organized by the European Jewish Congress, spoke of his "specific responsibility" as a German to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. He was referring to the meeting of Nazi officials in 1942 to decide on the "Final Solution." Although the present German nation was not guilty of the Holocaust, he said they had an ‘important duty to take into account our responsibility for the Jews in the world.’

All over the world, ceremonies have been held to mark this day, British Prime Minister David Cameron, signed a Book of Commitment, pledging his commitment to remembering the Holocaust.

The French Government issued a statement that "France is determined to fulfil the duty to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and to pass this knowledge on to new generations in France and throughout the world,"

However, anti-Semitism is not in any way dead. The German magazine Stern recently published a report showing that one in five young Germans has no idea that Auschwitz was a Nazi death camp.

And a German Parliament study  found  high levels of anti-Semitism in mainstream German culture, with one in five Germans latently hostile to Jews. It concluded that anti-Semitism could be found “right at the heart of society.” and warned against taking comfort from the fact that it was even more widespread in some other countries such as Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Hungary

The Jews - God's Witnesses

 The Jews are an amazing people, scattered throughout the world after being banished from their home land they have kept their identity- you will never be able to recognise a Babylonian or even a Roman- their days are long past - but the Jewish race still survives against all odds.

No other nation has been treated with such harshness and abuse and yet retained a distinctive national identity and the Bible tells us why. God told Israel, as they were about to enter the land He had promised them, that if they failed to serve Him they would be punished. They would be expelled from the land and scattered among the nations  (Deut 28:65) " among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind”. This happened finally in AD70 when the Romans took Jerusalem and banished them. However, God intended that the Jews should not lose their identity.   Jeremiah 31:35-36

"Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun... moon... and stars... If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever." 

The wonderful thing about the Jew is that God raised them for a special purpose – to demonstrate that He exists and keeps His promises. They are His witnesses Isaiah Ch. 43:10 ‘Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he’

The continued existence of the Jew, despite such sustained persecution and racial hatred throughout the centuries is living proof that God exists. Even the anti-Semitism which continues through all civilised nations was prophesied.

De 28:37  ‘And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee’.

The regathering of the Jews foretold

Isaiah tells us clearly that God has a special purpose with the Jews– They are His witnesses. And though scattered among the nations, the Bible promises they will be regathered into the land  God had promised them. The Lord Jesus’ prophecy, puts a limit on their wanderings Luke 21:24 ‘ And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.’ As does Jeremiah

‘Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock’. Jeremiah 31:10

 This shows how God is in control of world affairs. God said that if they failed to obey Him, the Jews would be scattered. It occurred. God said that he would regather them. This occurred too but only after the terrible judgments prophesied had been poured out in the Holocaust of World War 2, which resulted in the world leaders being compelled to provide a homeland for the Jewish people so that in 1948 the nation of Israel was born.

We see then how that the Jews are witnesses that the author of the Bible, God Himself, exists and is at work – The Most High,  ruling in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17).

His work with Israel, though, has not yet finished. Anti-Semitism won’t stop until our Lord returns. The Bible states that once the Jew was back in the land there would be more trouble; and this would cause the Lord Jesus Christ to return from heaven to re-establish the Kingdom of Israel as it existed in days of old. We read of that time in many prophecies including  Isaiah: 45:17

‘ But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end’.

The end of Anti-Semitism 

It is evident that, despite the well meaning efforts of politicians, the world has not learned from the Holocaust.  Bible prophecy states that at the end Israel will be surrounded by a great Northern army and in their distress they will turn to The Lord. When they finally see their need and cry unto Him, He will  save them.

Joel 2:11

And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.

Zechariah states that God will bring powerful nations against Israel and then Jesus will return:

 Zechariah 12:9-10

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him... 

The one who the Jews have pierced is the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom at his birth, the angel said in Luke 1:32-33 that "the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."

When, the Jews realise that Jesus was indeed their Messiah and repent; then the Lord Jesus will return to rule the world. Then will be fulfilled the blessings promised in Deuteronomy 28:13

And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:’

A repentant and cleansed Israel will then no longer suffer the hatred of the nations but will have their admiration.

Until that joyful time, which must be soon, they are to remain, God’s witnesses.



(Picture from the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.)

View of the entrance to the main camp of Auschwitz (Auschwitz I). The gate bears the motto "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work makes one free).