I’ll never forget the cold winter day I stood in a museum walking past rooms with piles of hair, shoes, and bifocals, each reaching the ceiling. The human hair, shoes, and bifocals all once belonged to Jews who had long since been murdered in giant gas chambers. It was 1997 and I was at the very location many people think of when they think of the epitome of evil on earth – Auschwitz concentration camp. Since that day, I continue to educate myself in regards to the horrors of the WWII holocaust.
Having now read several books on the events surrounding the Nazi’s ‘final solution’ for the Jews, I can confidently say that if a person is going to only read one account of the tragedy, they should read Elie Wiesel’s first hand account entitled Night.
Wiesel retells the story of him and his family being taken from their home in Hungary to the concentration camp in Poland. Like most in his community, Elie was a devout Jew… While in Auschwitz however, Elie abandoned his faith in a God that would let such atrocities happen.
These words are perhaps some of the most poignant words ever written regarding the holocaust:
“Never shall I forget that night, that first night in the camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.
Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget those things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.”
As I read this book, I kept thinking to myself, if I did not believe in a bloody cross in history, in which God’s own son suffered the greatest injustice at the hands of man the world has ever seen, to take on himself the justified wrath of God that I deserve, I too would have to come to the same conclusions about God as Elie did.
PS – I mistakenly purchased this book twice, so if anyone would like my other copy, let me know.