The Unforgettable Fires

“All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes—all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard—into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance—then we become the gravediggers.” — Rod Serling, “Deaths-Head Revisited,” The Twilight Zone

While some try to deflect blood guiltiness or delete selected events from the history of hell, humanity is charged to either remember or repeat the abominations of which he has proven himself so fully capable. According to the Bible, repetition is inevitable. For now, remember—and remember whom. For thousands of years the Jews are God’s people—He said so and nothing has changed. The devil is never proven more alive and active than in his relentless malice directed at God’s own—and yet God was never proved more present or purposeful than the day He regathered His people to their own historical land after nineteen-hundred years of persecution and near annihilation.

The smoldering wreckage of the Holocaust stands in witness to God’s most astonishing hat-trick—when He fulfilled the Bible’s most absurd prophecy:

“I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’ ” Ezek. 37:12-14

That verse is inscribed over the exit of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial. Yes, they know it, too.

So today we remember—for like the Auschwitzes of the world, man’s most hideous efforts will one day dissolve into unimagined miracles. I read the end of the Book.

—j

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