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Our memory of the Holocaust fades quickly. Once again, day after day Jews are forced to face fear, violence, and intimidation. Antisemitism and Jew hatred exist in almost every country, in every city – worldwide. It is not enough to say "Never Again" to the Holocaust, if we want to prevent Jew hatred from turning violent and antisemitic defamation from spreading. Once again we have the choice to become passive accessories and incur guilt through our silence just like our forefathers. If you break your silence, you raise your voice and become light! This book continues the thoughts of the book "Breaking the Veil of Silence". It will touch you personally, inspire, and help you to make a difference with very practical steps.
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Dedicated to my friend Carlos Gabriel Jiménez (1937 – 2017). During the final years of his life he found his way back to the Jewish roots of his family.
Keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive will remain a permanent duty of any German government. This is true for the past, and it will remain so in future. For the future, we will have to come up with new concepts in order to prevent antisemitic incidents.
The March of Life is a tremendous initiative doing its very valuable part. I wish every city had an event like this.
Dr. Felix Klein
Antisemitism Commissioner of the German Federal Government
Jobst Bittner, Raise Your Voice and be a Light© 2018 TOS Verlag, Tübingen, GermanyAll rights reserved.
Original title: Erhebe deine Stimme und werde Licht© 2018 TOS Verlag, Tübingen, GermanyAll rights reserved.
This title is available as book and e-book.ISBN book 978-3-9818040-6-5ISBN ebook 978-3-9818040-7-2
Unless marked otherwise, all Scripture references are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by Permission of Biblica, Inc.® All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE® is marked NASB, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
Scripture taken from the MODERN KING JAMES VERSION is marked MKJV. Taken from Modern King James Version, copyright © 1962-1998 by Jay P. Green, Sr. All rights reserved.
Typesetting: Stefan GärtnerCover Design: Stefan KleinTranslation: Tina PompeEditing: Lynn McNally
I. TÜBINGEN BEGS FORGIVENESS!
II. THE MARCH OF LIFE – A GLOBAL MOVEMENT
The Legacy of the Survivors of the Holocaust
The Veil of Silence
The Silence of the Nations – Closed Borders!
Carrying the Heritage of almost 2,000 Years of Christian Antisemitism
Bringing Blessing for Israel and Healing for Cities and Nations
The Spiritual Foundations are Universal
From the Shoah to New Life!
III. THE FOUNDATION OF THE MARCH OF LIFE MOVEMENT
Working Through the Past is Getting Personal
IV. THE GUILT OF CHRISTIANS TOWARDS THE JEWISH PEOPLE
The Deadly Infection of the Church
The Spanish Inquisition
The Modern Era
Between all Fronts
Oppression in the East
World War II
Indifferent and Passive
Antisemitism in Germany and Europe
Will we remain silent again?
When Silence is Broken
V. PREPARING THE WAY FOR JEW HATRED THEN AND NOW
The Ideology of “Volksgemeinschaft”
The “Sportpalast Speech” in Berlin
Goebbel’s Ten Questions
The Power of Words
Effects after the War
Playing the Role of a Victim
Abusing the Word and the Enchantment of Mass Suggestion
Speaking the Truth
VI. RAISE YOUR VOICE
The Unknown Angel
Transforming Paths of Death into Paths of Life
Organizing a March of Life
In February 2018, I had the privilege of participating in the annual March of Life event in Tübingen, Germany. I will never forget 500 people, many of them descendants of Nazi SS officers, dancing and praising God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the State of Israel and repenting for actions of their forefathers just one or two generations ago. There is no other place like Tübingen, the city which was the elite school for the Nazis where 300 of the main SS perpetrators and mass murderers were trained to hate and murder this people – where now the people were sharing positive energies of Love and Hope.
For me this was continuing my participating in the March of Life in Lodz with hundreds of people marching in the streets in September 2017. Lodz is the city where five of my eight great-grandparents were born and didn’t survive due to the hate and cruelty.
At both of these events I was representing my family from the past, but also officially representing the State of Israel, created less than a century ago, expressing His covenant with the People of Israel. These events and many more of the sort are an expression of the miracles we are witnessing in our era, as the words of the Prophets of the Bible are unrolling and miraculously becoming reality in front of our eyes. As we are approaching the next major event of March of Nations in the streets of Jerusalem, marking the seventieth anniversary of the state of Israel, I am honored to share my blessings with the organizers of these fabulous events and especially Jobst Bittner and his wonderful wife and wishing we all unite to share the message of the Word of God of Peace and inclusiveness with all humanity.
Yehudah Glick, Menber of Knesset, Israel
More than ten years ago, we set out on the first “March of Life” together with a small group of people. Meanwhile we have reached more than 370 cities and 20 nations. Year after year, we see up to 60 Marches of Life taking place around the time of Yom HaShoah. The “March of Life” has become a global movement, mobilizing tens of thousands to take to the streets and reaching millions through the press and media. The message is always the same: Remember the Holocaust – and learn from the past! Tell the truth – and reconcile! Raise your voice against antisemitism and Jew hatred, and stand side by side with Israel in friendship! Raise your voice and be a light! That is what counts at a time when the global threshold for Jew hatred and antisemitism in the media and the digital world and on every level of society has become lower than at any other time since World War II.
This booklet is a compilation of information, personal stories and articles that are worth the read, which may serve as inspiration and encouragement. You can also use the sources mentioned in this booklet for your own events.
Some time ago, I spoke to a well-known Jewish-orthodox musician on the phone. Before I was even able to say anything, he greeted me with the words, “I know the work you do with the March of Life – you are light fighting against the darkness!” I was slightly taken aback and replied that it was our privilege to organize the Marches of Life. He said impatiently, “No, no! You do this for Holocaust survivors and raise your voices for Israel! You are light – and because of you darkness has to go!” So he actually said what we can read in the Prophet Isaiah:
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory. (Is 62:1-2a)
One of our first Marches of Life took us to Lithuania. During the preparations for the March, we met Jakob, who still lived in the same house that had been part of the Kaunas Ghetto in 1941. Kaunas used to be one of the most significant Jewish centers in the Baltic countries; today Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. Jakob was one of the last survivors of the ghetto. After a very warm welcome, we followed him up a narrow staircase to the first floor where he lived. On the way upstairs, he pointed to the wooden stairs. When the ghetto was liquidated, SS soldiers had stormed up these stairs, rounding up his family along with the last survivors of the ghetto to take them to the mass execution. Jakob‘s father managed to flee from the house together with him and his siblings. His mother and her parents had already been arrested before. He saw when they were marched past their house. For eight months, Jakob and his family hid in a hole underneath the pigs in a pigsty, and they survived.
In the evening, we sat together with Jakob, and he shared his memories. By then, he had started to trust us and was willing to show us his most prized possession. He led us into his library. Next to ancient manuscripts belonging to his rabbinical ancestors he had a cardboard box, labeled with the address of the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. He carefully unwound the strings around the box and opened it. In the box, there was an old Torah scroll that had belonged to his brother. Until very recently, it had been on loan to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, and now they had returned it. Very carefully, he took it out and pointed to the dark brown stains. Jakob’s brother had been a rabbi and had saved the scroll from a burning synagogue. He was running from the Nazi thugs and pressed the scroll to his body to protect it. A shot rang out; the bullet went through his body, leaving him severely injured. The scroll was soaked with his blood. This was the story behind the brown stains. It was a rabbi’s blood, who had risked his life for the Word of God.
Every single fate in the Holocaust has a name and a story. At the same time, the Holocaust could never have taken place if it had not been for the silent majority, who remained silent and indifferent, simply watching when Jewish life was degraded, disenfranchised, ostracized, and annihilated.
Our memory of the Holocaust is fading quickly. Once again, day after day Jews are forced to face fear, violence, and intimidation. Antisemitism and Jew hatred exist in almost every country, in every city – worldwide. If we want to prevent Jew hatred from turning violent and antisemitic defamation from spreading, it is not enough to say “Never Again” to the Holocaust. Once again we have the choice to become passive accessories and incur guilt through our silence just like our forefathers. The March of Life movement is a call in our days! Raise your voice – be a light! Don’t wait for somebody else! I would like to encourage you to let this book inspire, touch, and call you personally!
Tübingen is a former Nazi city. Today, the March of Life movement originates from here, which to date has been able to mobilize tens of thousands in 370 cities and 20 nations to raise their voices against antisemitism and for Israel. In 2011 and 2015, the March of Life was honored by the Israeli Knesset for its special efforts on behalf of Holocaust survivors. The Jewish Community in Halle presented it with the Emil-L.-Fackenheim Prize for Tolerance and Understanding.
The first March of Life took place in 2007. It was very unusual. The descendants of the perpetrators in Germany no longer wanted to remain silent in the face of antisemitism and Jew hatred. They started telling their family stories, and asked forgiveness for the guilt incurred by their ancestors. The March was the first time for them to actually meet survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants; and they discovered that even more than 50 years after the end of World War II they still had to live under the shadow and with the pain of the Holocaust. The children and grandchildren of the perpetrators wanted to break their parents’ and grandparents’ silence. “Tubingen Begs Forgiveness” was the headline on the front page of the Jerusalem Post. Here you can read the background to this story.1
The small university town of Tübingen is situated in Southern Germany, about 30 minutes from Stuttgart. It is a typical German town with old, medieval houses and a river slowly winding its way along the picturesque house fronts. On warm summer days the students sit along the river walls, watching the long punts go by, stoked along by long poles like the gondolas in Venice. Actually, Tübingen is the typical image of a German idyll. Hardly any of the many tourists have any notion that this pretty town has such an ugly and dark history of antisemitism and used to be one of the ideological trailblazers during the Nazi era.
I want to underline this with a few facts, so you can get a better idea of what this means. In the more than 1,400 years of Tübingen’s history, prior to their deportation in 1942 there had only ever been a period of 120 years that any Jews were allowed to live in the city. Their life of suffering is one long story of persecution, pogroms, and repeated expulsions. In 1477, Duke Eberhard the Bearded, an outspoken antisemite, founded the University of Tübingen. With the founding of the university, he expelled all Jews from the city and the entire region for the following 400 years. It was only in the mid eighteen hundreds that the Jews slowly started returning to the city. They built a beautiful synagogue in the city center which was first vandalized and later burnt down during Kristallnacht. Most members of the Jewish community were deported. During the Nazi era, Tübingen University paved the ideological way for the “final solution of the Jewish question” and produced the majority of the fanatic pioneers and the most efficient mass murderers who served in the front lines of the SS Einsatzgruppen and Sicherheitsdienst (intelligence service), working on the so-called final solution.
The Tübingen orientalist and indiologist Jakob Wilhelm Hauer (1881 – 1962) became head of the university’s newly established Aryan Institute in 1935. His private secretary, Paul Zapp, organized mass executions in Romania, in the Ukraine, and in Russia. Theodor Dannecker, a native citizen of Tübingen, was responsible for the deportation of Jews from France and Hungary to Auschwitz. Taking everything into account, there are estimates that at least 700,000 Jews were cruelly murdered by the hand of SS mass murderers from Tübingen.
Tübingen‘s shared guilt in the Holocaust cast a dark shadow over our city. But there is no darkness so great that it could not be overcome by the light of God. My city is a living testimony for this.
Like many others of the post-war generation, I was deeply ashamed of my nation. Loving Germany as a country to me was nationalistic, backward, and simply unthinkable. At the same time, I had felt an inner connection to Israel ever since I had been a teenager. Even in my first lessons as a believer, I had been taught that the people of Israel was chosen. Since then, this has become a special treasure to me. I do not know why I never talked to anybody about it; but I tried to keep my inner connection to Israel a secret. There was an inner indifference in me which I was later to find again in my city’s history. The same inner indifference had been the mark of the silent majority among the German population, who during the Nazi era had simply stood by, watching how their Jewish neighbors were robbed, degraded, and deported. Without this silent majority, the Shoah in Nazi Germany and with it our city’s terrible story could never have taken place.
The story of the transformation of our city and of the beginnings of the March of Life is short in the telling. During a time of crisis, one thing became a spiritual key for us as a church: “The silence of your fathers still is within you!” What this was actually saying, was, “There is a silence within you that makes you just as passive, indifferent, and conformist as the people during the Nazi era.” Was it possible that even 50 years after the end of World War II we were still living under the shadow of the Holocaust?
See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Is 60:2)
This surely also was one of the reasons why working through the city’s Nazi past was such tedious work and had only just begun in the early 80ies. In post-war Germany, people were easily classified as either perpetrators or conformists. Nonetheless, even convicted war criminals tended to receive so much backing from highest political ranks that many times they were released prematurely from prison, re-socialized and even reintegrated into social life again. There were hardly any clear confessions and admitting of guilt. All who managed to be classified as conformists were rehabilitated. And so a heavy dark curtain was drawn over the sin of the past.
The working through of the past and the denazification process at the university turned out to be a total disaster. 85% of the professors who had been either dismissed or suspended longerterm achieved their rehabilitation within the first ten years and the majority of them returned to the university. For almost 30 years, they remained silent or even lied. The generation who had incurred guilt largely managed to repress all shaming or criminal events. After 1945, everything connected to the Nazi time was subjected to silence, repression, and a disgraceful haggling over Jewish possessions misappropriated by the tax authorities.2
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