In his book “Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939,” Saul Friedlander explains that Hitler’s assault on the Jewish people began with economic oppression. Doctors, lawyers, professors, musicians, and professionals of all kinds were excluded from their workplaces. Jewish shops were boycotted. Jewish students were denied access to the universities.
Tragically, the German people went along with these great injustices without so much as a squawk of protest. They shunned neighbors and colleagues who, in many instances, had been their friends for decades. And why? Because the openings in the workplace created by Nazi oppression meant more job opportunities for non-Jews. Disgusting, isn’t it? The Bible says that “he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished” (Prov. 17:5). This certainly proved true in Germany. Just 12 years after Hitler’s regime began its persecution of the Jewish people, the nation was reduced to rubble by Allied bombing.
But here’s the crazy part: The German people thought of themselves as devout Christians. There was no interest in “separation of church and state.” The ministers in pulpits all across the country received their support directly from the government, and nobody complained.
Obviously, calling ourselves Christian doesn’t mean that we are true Christ-followers. The Germans had their “scriptural” reasons for persecuting the Jews. But their reasoning had no basis in the word of God or the love of God either. Hitler even punished Jews who had converted to Christian faith! I wonder how many Germans paused to consider that their “Christian” policy of persecuting Jews would have condemned the Jerusalem church, the apostles, and even Jesus himself.
A true Christian calls evil what it is. Witnessing great injustices and crimes and saying nothing is cowardly. It is far better to die the death of a righteous and courageous witness than to blend in with the wicked and perish when divine judgment overtakes them.