Last month Asher and I had the opportunity to visit the
Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Although we have done
extensive personal study on the Holocaust including several visits to
Yad Vashem in Israel, to actually set foot in Auschwitz is an
Ruins of death chamber #2 of Auschwitz II, the spot
where more human beings were murdered than any other place in
An attempt has been made to leave the camp intact, as is, that there
will be no confusion between reality and man-made monuments. Thus the
visitor - to whatever extent possible - is able to make an
association with the camp and imagine himself there.
In several displays, piles of genuine personal items have been
collected and stand as a memorial to the thousands who met their fate
here, simple individuals concerned with daily necessities - shoes,
suitcases with names marked clearly, pots and pans. A collection of
talitot (Jewish prayer shawls) alludes to the number of practicing
Jews at Auschwitz, and in a more gruesome display sits a ceiling high
pile of human hair. Rows of wooden bunk beds line the walls of a
single barracks where one wonders at the numbers that were crammed
into these rooms, and the "bathroom," where inhuman sanitation was
responsible for thousands of deaths, remains untouched.
However nothing sent chills up my spine like the "showers." Beams of
light shine through small holes in the ceiling where Zyklon B poison
was dropped and the notorious ovens stand in place, tools for
unfathomable evil. I found myself physically sickened in this room,
unable to stay for more than a few minutes.
Barbed wire fence surrounding barracks at Auschwitz
Outside, at the end of the massive Birkenau (Auschwitz II) grounds
lie the ruins of the burnt down crematoriums. It is said that more
human beings died at this spot than any other location in history.
I left Auschwitz with a sense of horror at the atrocities performed
here, while at the same time a sense of reverence to the million plus
martyrs who died in its midst.
Czech Republic and Poland
In addition to Auschwitz we spent a few days ministering in the Czech
Republic and Poland. Both countries are similar in that they once
hosted thriving Jewish communities - among the largest in Europe -
but in both countries their Jewish population was almost completely
obliterated in World War II.
In spite of this tragic history, we witnessed a growing movement
among believers to grasp the Jewish roots of the gospel and seek a
connection with modern day Israel. In addition, some Polish believers
informed us that there is a movement within the general population to
start dealing with the "ghosts of the past" - the Jewish neighbors
who no longer exist - and revive Jewish culture within the country.
There are roots of revival in the Czech and Polish nations that go
back to the Moravian revivals. We stand together with our spiritual
brothers and sisters to release revival and restoration for the true
remnant Church in both Poland and the Czech Republic.